Yarmouth family hopes to reinvigorate Chebeague Island Inn

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CHEBEAGUE ISLAND — The Chebeague Island Inn’s new owners say they are determined to have it live up to its potential.

Casey Prentice, who runs the Prentice Organization real estate development firm in Yarmouth, and his parents, Gerri and Richard, agreed to buy the property from Martha Dumont earlier this month and closed the acquisition Monday.

“My parents have always looked for an opportunity like this,” Prentice said last week. “They’ve always looked for a kind of a side thing for themselves to do … but nothing ever really was the right time.”

But with their children grown, and property management and business development being Prentice’s business, the time and opportunity provided by the inn were right.

While he confirmed that Dumont’s asking price for the 21-room inn and restaurant was $1.65 million, Prentice declined to disclose what his family agreed to pay.

He said he and his mother will operate the inn on a day-to-day basis, while his father continues as a lawyer at Pierce Atwood in Portland. Prentice will be the general manager, while his mother will run the guest operations. Since activity at his firm tends to slow in the summer, Prentice is free to devote himself to the inn, he said.

“And there couldn’t be a better place to be than Chebeague Island,” he added.

Prentice said Dumont owned the inn since 2003, and that during that time it had a series of managers.

“We really feel like (the inn) needs to be run on a hands-on approach, and really interact with the islanders and become a part of their community,” he said.

Prentice said a good relationship with island residents is important. “They recognize that the inn is very much the driver for the island,” he said. “We recognize that the island is as much as a driver for the inn as we are for the island. And I think recognizing that fact is going to be important to the success of the inn.”

Prentice said his family plans to work with the Chebeague Transportation Co. to arrange charter services and cocktail cruises.

“One of our biggest hurdles is going to be increasing accessibility to the island,” he said. “We want to figure out how to get people from Portland to the island in a reasonable manner that’s cost-effective and time-effective.”

Prentice said the inn will open in May and remain open through the end of October. He wants the 75-seat restaurant to be “a culinary destination point,” offering a mix of fine dining and a more casual menu of comfort food.

“There are going to be a lot of changes,” he said, although he did want to get into specifics. “We want to go through a pretty extensive rebranding process of both the inn and the restaurant. … We’re not going anywhere, and we’re making a real go at this.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.

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Casey Prentice of Yarmouth, and his parents Gerri and Richard Prentice, are buying the Chebeague Island Inn.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.