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Bottom Line: New managers mean new names for two Lebanon-area hotels

  • John Lippman. Copyright (c) Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Business Writer
Saturday, July 20, 2019

Two hotels in the Lebanon area have new names: the Days Inn on Route 120 is now a Quality Inn and the Baymont Inn on Airport Road in West Lebanon will become a Best Western.

The “brand” changes follow another name change — the limited liability companies that own each hotel each named a new manager, according to filings with the New Hampshire Secretary of State offices.

Harish Patel, who has an email address at Jamsan Hotel Management in Lexington, Mass., previously was identified as the manager of both LLCs. Jamsan owns and operates more than 60 hotels in New England, mostly in the limited-service, midprice range.

Anish Patel, who now is listed in state records as the manager of Jigna LLC, the entity that owns the Baymont, said he acquired the 54-room hotel from Harish Patel earlier this year. Anish Patel said he is waiting for final approval from Arizona-based Best Western to affiliate his hotel with that chain.

Anish Patel, who said he previously worked as an engineer for an automotive parts supplier in Detroit, said he bought the hotel from Harish Patel — to whom he said he is not related — because “I just wanted to start my own business.”

The Baymont is now undergoing some refurbishing as it waits for final approval to be rebranded as a Best Western, he said.

Meanwhile, a few miles away on Route 120, Ketan Rawal is now the manager of Priti Hospitality LLC, the entity that owns the Days Inn and which recently switched its affiliation to the Quality Inn chain.

Rawal, in an interview, said he had been a management professor at a university in Mumbai, India, but took over running the 50-room hotel in Lebanon when he heard “through a friend” about the job opportunity in the U.S.

Harish Patel did not respond to messages for comment left for him at Jamsan Hotel Management.

For sale: Lebanon auto location, owner asking $4.5 million

Just in time for the arrival of self-driving cars: There may soon be two vacant auto dealership lots only a few miles apart that will need new occupants.

In anticipation of relocating its Upper Valley Honda dealership from Lebanon to White River Junction, the owner has put its Miracle Mile Honda dealership property up for sale.

Connecticut-based Gengras Motor Cars, which bought the former Gerrish Honda dealership in 2016, is in the process of building a new $5.3 million dealership site behind McDonald’s on Sykes Mountain Avenue in White River Junction, now the go-to location for Upper Valley auto dealers.

The Miracle Mile 3.4-acre property, which includes a 22,400-square-foot structure, is listed for $4.5 million, according to marketing documents prepared by Chip Brown’s BCR commercial real estate firm — slightly more than the $4.25 million Gengras paid for the property nearly three years ago when it bought the dealership from Gerrish, according to city of Lebanon records.

The past few years have seen a tidal shift in Upper Valley auto dealerships as longtime local family owners have retired and sold out to regional groups — Kurt Gerrish sold his Honda dealership in 2016, followed by Tom Thayer selling his Flanders and Patch Ford dealership in 2017, which was followed by brothers Charlie and Alan Hall closing their White River Junction Ford dealership and selling the franchise to Lebanon Ford earlier this year.

Key Miracle Mile selling point: Some 14,100 vehicles pass the stretch daily, and Interstate 89 parallel to it gets some 38,000 vehicles per day, per the marketing docs, citing New Hampshire Department of Transportation data.

City records peg the property’s 2018 assessment at $2.8 million, the same as it was in 2017 and 2016.

The Hall brothers also looking for a new tenant to occupy their former Gateway Motors facility on Sykes Mountain Avenue.

Neither Gengras or Brown responded to emails for comment.

It’s no longer Miller Auto’s times

Speaking of auto dealerships, this will come as a lament to people with long memories: What was once a legendary name in the Upper Valley auto business has disappeared after 124 years.

The name “Miller” has been dropped from Miller Auto Group’s Volvo and Volkswagen dealerships on Route 120 in Lebanon. The co-located dealerships are now simply called Volvo Cars of Lebanon and Volkswagen of Lebanon.

Miller Auto Group’s roots go back to the horse and buggy era in 1885 when Henry Miller opened the Excelsior Carriage Co. His son Dusty Miller began selling steam-powered cars in 1902 before signing on as a Cadillac distributor. The business added more franchises over the years and eventually was inherited by Dusty’s son, Bill Miller, who later passed it on to his stepson, Cam Eldred.

Eldred brought Johanna Cicotte, a former Miller salesperson, in as a partner in 2001 before Cicotte bought full control of Miller Auto Group in 2005. By 2008, Cicotte’s Miller Auto encompassed 12 different auto brands in the Upper Valley: Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick, Pontiac, GMC, Nissan, Volvo and VW.

Cicotte did not respond to a message inquiring about the reason for the name change, but in recent years she has sold or withdrawn nearly all the car franchises, so today she is just left with the Volvo and VW dealerships.

With the Miller name being removed from the dealership’s lot just off Exit 18 on I-89, prompting the question whether Cicotte has sold the Volvo and VW franchises as well.

But Jaime Lanfranconi, the office manager at Volvo Volkswagen of Lebanon, replied via email that “Johanna is still the owner.”

John Lippman can be reached at jlippman@vnews.com.