November 28, 2011

SSM Searchmont resize

Sault Ste. Marie & Area Community Development Corporation, Sault Ste. Marie


“The closure of Searchmont Resort seemed likely in July 2001,” recalls Brian Irwin, Executive Director of the Community Development Corporation of Sault Ste. Marie.  “The business had been in receivership for a year. Despite a successful 2000-01 ski season, no buyer had surfaced and bank financing wasn’t available to reopen.”

The closure of this tourist destination threatened to further weaken a stressed economy, so the CDC responded quickly.  Its efforts ultimately helped save 150 jobs, protect $8 million in annual economic benefit, and ensure the long-term viability of a winter tourism asset.    

Through a community partnership, a not-for-profit corporation, Searchmont Ski Association Inc. was set up to oversee the business and seek a buyer.  In 2001-02, Searchmont employed a full staff and turned a $30,000 profit. That success supported achievement of their second goal: a purchaser stepped forward in May 2002. 

“Without the CDC and its staff support, accomplishing this would have been nearly impossible,” notes Past Chair Duane Buchanan.  When the resort went up for sale in 2005, the partners reestablished Searchmont Ski Association Inc. and purchased it, continuing the operation of this major tourism asset.