BRATTLEBORO >> A widow has kept her husband's dream alive by bringing hoped-for change to the Brattleboro Country Club.
Melanie Boese, of Vernon, and her husband, Jack Judge, bought the business in October of 2014, and this season she is upgrading the golf course and restaurant. Previously, the Country Club was owned by its members, but now with Boese in the picture, it has private owners, which allows for public access to all the business amenities.
"This place has been a part of the community for probably a couple of hundred years," said Boese. "The restaurant needed some TLC and I think we're trying to make it appealing to a broad customer base."
The Fairway Tavern and Restaurant is expected to have renovations complete for the reopening date on April 30. A complete refurbishment of the bar and dining room is underway.
"New floors throughout the downstairs, a beautiful copper top for the bar, a new tap system, a tin ceiling in the dining room and new paint are transforming this tired building into the place to be," said Boese. "With a beautiful deck and gorgeous views, it is a wonderful place to relax and unwind."
Boese and Judge purchased the BCC for $1.5 million. She has some long-term goals for upgrades, such as a pro shop with a basement, indoor golf simulations, electric powered golf carts with GPS systems, a new locker room, a glassed in 14-foot expansion of the Fairway Tavern and Restaurant and apartments on the second floor. Boese said she has even more ideas, but the enhancements are dependent on whether outside funding comes through. Boese contacted the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation to help connect her with other local providers to help realize her vision. She is interested in applying for a loan through the Windham County Economic Development Program, which would monetarily assist her plans for the club.
"I'm looking for funding everywhere; we're a woman-owned business so I hope some potential is there. We're looking at some solar money that is available, and the BDCC is helping," said Boese. "We haven't gotten anything to the point where we've submitted ideas; we're still percolating all this stuff by saying, here's our big plan of all the stuff we want to do."
R.T. Hamilton Brown, the Windham County Economic Development Program Project Manager at the BDCC, has been working with Boese to get community members on board with her project.
"We support the project because we think if she's able to expand and provide more space for functions and events and meetings, that will fill a gap that currently exists," said Brown.
Other recent improvements occurred in the fall of 2015, including a three-year irrigation project that was launched with holes 10 and 18 completed. A full heating system was also installed in October allowing the Fairway Tavern and Restaurant to be open all winter. BCC is utilizing local contractors such as Eli Gould and a crew from PreCraft Services, Lawton Flooring, Damian Flooring, Colleen Bourne, A.L. Tyler, Joe Dhembe, Bill Gilbert and Brattleboro Sheet Metal.
"I am thrilled to be able to import so many local contractors, all of us building a community and helping each other," said Boese. "They're all craftsman and doing excellent work and I'm grateful for all the time and effort they're putting into this."
Judge had a go-getter attitude, said Boese. He founded R.O.V. Technologies in 1990 and sold the company (which primarily provides nuclear utility operators with remote visual inspection services for boiling water reactors and pressurized water reactors) to Rolls-Royce, a car manufacturer.
Judge's passion for golf began when he was 13 years old, when he started caddying at Wyckoff Country Club in Holyoke, Mass. Boese says she still enjoys golfing and for the first time she golfed in New England on Easter this season.
For more information onm the BCC, visit their website at www.brattleborocountryclub.com or call 802-257-7380.
"I'm just happy to be here and I look forward to coming to work everyday," said Boese.
Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 275