The Beachwood has been owned and operated by the Cloutier family since 1951. The original hotel was called The Montreal House and was constructed in the late 1800's. There was a large lobby with a steakhouse restaurant and nightly sing-alongs by the grand piano were common. John Cloutier’s grandfather (Reginald Cloutier) and great aunt (Julienne Touchette) were attracted to the property when Maine began developing its interstate highway system, also known as Rt. 95 or the turnpike. They thought that the improved access would help to return Old Orchard to the popularity it had enjoyed before the great fires destroyed much of the town earlier in the century.
They made several improvements to the property, which included converting the horse stables into motel units and adding a story to one of the hotel towers. Unfortunately much of the hotel was destroyed by fire (arson) in 1976. At that time John Cloutier’s grandmother (Alice Cloutier) and Julien Touchette decided to convert the property into a motel structure. The damaged hotel was demolished and a new lobby with 3 motel units above was created. They also installed a pool and lawn where the old hotel once stood.
Shortly thereafter Pauline Keefe (John’s aunt and Raymond Cloutier’s sister) purchased half of the property from Mrs. Touchette. Raymond & Lorraine Cloutier, John’s parents, purchased the other half from Alice Cloutier in 1984 after running a successful variety store and sandwich shop in Lewiston, Maine for 10 years.
After their first year together, the families added 14 units to the property and reconfigured the owners’ quarters to accommodate both families (normally 11-13 family members in the summer). Ray and Lorraine partnered with Pauline until 1996. Together they took many steps to modernize the property, upgrading the rooms, enlarging the pool, adding telephones, air conditioning, new fencing, siding and many room amenities. Ray and Lorraine acquired Pauline's share of the business prior to her passing in 1996.
John and Shannon Cloutier purchased the property from John’s parents (Ray and Lorraine) in 2007, and began to incorporate their own tastes and preferences. Shannon has a background in accounting and was last employed by PolyMedica Corporation as a Vice President and the Corporate Controller. John grew up working at The Beachwood, but spent his career after college with Liberty Mutual Group as a Director of Special Projects. His primary focus was on management reporting, data integration and predictive modelling.
Since acquiring the property, John and Shannon have undertaken some major renovations. These have included a complete rebuild of each motel unit. All of the custom studio units are new, so they meet or exceed current fire safety, electrical and plumbing codes. They have also added considerable soundproofing between units and a fresh decor with crown molding, wainscoting and modern kitchenettes.
A key focus has been placed on environmentally sound business practices. We have implemented a comprehensive recycling program, acquired a solar system for hot water, and installed state of the art heat and air conditioning that is both whisper quiet and super-efficient. Technology has also been leveraged whenever practical to help manage the business and to add a level of consistency to the service provided. Today we are able to provide many of the services that you would expect from a top tier hotel.
In 2014, our plan is to put many of the finishing touches on the renovations we started 5 years ago. We are reconfiguring the pool area, our parking and adding a substantial amount of landscaping. We are very excited about these improvements.
Do you have a bit of Beachwood history to share? Let us know about it. We love learning about our past and would love to incorporate your feedback.
John & Shannon Cloutier (Hosts)