christmas

Gary and Sandra Plourde have owned the Christmas Farm Inn and Spa for 10 years in Jackson. (COURTESY PHOTO)

JACKSON — The help wanted ad running for the Christmas Farm Inn and Spa was deliberate by design.

The ad reads: “The Christmas Farm Inn & Spa is a lifestyle leisure and event resort dedicated to providing a quintessential New England experience.”

Capturing their vision of providing adventure, inspiration and wellness for both guests and employees is the goal of the business.

“We are trying to attract what we deliver — people who get what we are about to inspire that delivery,” stated Gary Plourde about the process of hiring new staff. Plourde, owner with his wife, Sandra, purchased the inn and spa in 2010.

The property dates back to 1778, according to their website. Once a jail, a church and a farmhouse, the buildings are now home to a country inn, cottages, restaurant, bar, spa, swimming pool and events venue.

Plourde calls the inn a "little big business."

 “A lot of people drive by and think we are a typical bed-and-breakfast,” he said.

“We actually have 41 units, 16 suites and seven cottages, and the rest are traditional units. We do our own property care and in high season generally employ 45-46 staff members."

The big-business side comes from years of experience, as both Gary and Sandra had careers in the hotel, travel and marketing industries internationally.

“Sandra likes to say we are a small business, but with a big business approach,” adds Plourde.

For new hires, "we have 'on-boarding' sessions at the inn to go over what we expect of staff, to share our vision. It is important how they treat others with common respect, how they communicate and get a compass of what we are about. If something is not working, let’s make it better, we want to live to a value,” stated Plourde.

“We buy local, we encourage our employees to become involved, active in the local arts and creating the upcoming Pumpkin People. We are members of both the Jackson and Mt. Washington Valley Chambers of Commerce,” he added.

On March 17, like most other businesses, the Christmas Farm Inn and Spa had to temporarily close due to Gov. Chris Sununu’s COVID-19 emergency orders and didn’t reopen until June 19.

Plourde said they played it safe — and smart.

“We were allowed to reopen on June 4 but took the time to get ready," he said. "Some of sanitation products were delayed in arriving. As for the restaurant, we never really did takeout, but we have plenty of room to distance the tables indoors and have a few outdoor tables."

Plourde said they have met all state and CDC guidelines.

“Overall we are doing very well. It is an investment and about keeping the employees and guests safe,” he added. “Our customers have been great, no difficulties.”

At present, the inn employs about 36 staff members and is looking to add to each department: housekeeping, guest services, restaurant and spa.

So why work at the Christmas Farm Inn?

Plourde explains some of the appeal.

“Even in these troubled times, we have an active 401(k). We host an annual Christmas party for employees, spouses, partners,” he said.

There are generous vacation plans, room to grow within each department, use of all spa amenities, discounts for stay at other lodging properties — and an opportunity to dine at the inn, with complimentary dinner for two, less alcoholic beverages.

 “We always try to have a professional approach. This isn’t about us. It is about guests coming back and seeing the same servers year after year. This is a place where people want to be, and it is the same for our employees,” added Plourde.

For employment information, email sandra@christmasfarminn.com or call (603) 383-4313

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