OGUNQUIT, Maine — Have you always wanted to own and operate an inn? If so, the Almost Home Inn in Ogunquit has an opportunity for you. The inn’s owners are holding an essay contest to identify a new owner. They are seeking 8,000 entries into an essay contest from which will emerge a single winner.
“I got the idea from the Spitfire Grill movie,” said innkeeper Jacqui Grant of the decision to use the essay contest as the means of selling the inn. “We decided to do it here. We talked about selling five or six years ago but held off for a while. Now, I’m getting older. I love this business. It’s given me more joy than I can express. It’s also given me the most work.”
The inn is the latest in a string of Maine properties to use essay contests to find new owners, following efforts by the Center Lovell Inn, a West Bath home and a Houlton movie theater, with varying degrees of success.
The Almost Home Inn has five bedrooms, a fire placed living room, and sits on a half-acre of well landscaped grounds. There’s a stone patio outside and the inn is close to Ogunquit Village and Ogunquit Beach. It is located at 27 Kings Lane, near the iconic restaurant, the Egg & I.
The contest is open to anyone over age 18, with contest judges ineligible to enter. The entry fee is $110 and participants must submit an essay of 225 words or less about why they want to own and operate an inn in Ogunquit. If 8,000 entries are not received by the deadline, participants will have their entry fee returned. All entries must be postmarked no later than Sept. 1, 2016 and received by the Wells, Maine post office by Sept. 10, 2016. A winner will be selected by Sept. 25.
There’s also a specific process for the judging.
“I’m not judging them,” Grant said. “And I’m very careful who I talk to about the contest.”
The innkeeper will select 25 of the essays and submit that group to a three person panel of judges to winnow the contestants down to the top three. Judges cannot be related to the sponsors of the contest or have a vested interest in the business. The top three will be ranked in order. The winner will receive the inn as well as $20,000 in cash.
Grant has been running the inn for the past 10 years. Two of her sons, Bill and Michael, bought the inn and Grant has been running it since. Grant said conducting the essay contest was a great way to put the five bedroom inn up for sale.
“One of the big reasons is that I felt — and so did Bill — that we wanted to pay it forward and give someone else the opportunity to do what I did,” Grant said. “The outcome of [Spitfire Grill] was a young girl with a child ended up winning it.”
A native of Madawaska, Grant first visited Ogunquit as a teenager and fell in love with it. She said the town has been a wonderful place to live and run a business.
“Ogunquit has been wonderful to me,” she said. “Everybody was there to help me. The chamber was right behind me. They gave me my liftoff. The inns and B&B’s sent me their overflow.”
For more information about the essay contest, including where to send an essay, visit www.almosthomeinnessaycontest.com.