WILLIAMSTOWN -- Williams College is negotiating a deal to purchase the Williams Inn from owners Carl and Marilyn Faulkner, according to a spokesman for the college.
James Kolesar, vice president of public affairs for Williams College, noted that the college already owns the land on which the inn sits, and last year purchased the business's debt from its bank.
And because the Williams Inn plays such a prominent role in housing guests and visitors to the college, Kolesar said, "the college has a natural interest in the continuity of the inn all year -- especially on busy weekends."
Innkeeper Carl Faulkner acknowledged that the inn and the college are in discussions. He noted that the employees were notified with a note they received Wednesday.
He said he and his wife are looking to retire soon, and wanted to make sure the business and the employees will be well taken care of.
The note reads in part: "Some of you may have heard rumors lately concerning the status of The Williams Inn and that a possible sale to Williams College may take place. While all the details are not worked out and settled, that is the direction we are taking in an effort to put the Inn in good hands and retire after 35 years."
"Carl and Marilyn Faulkner are understandably interested in retiring, and their natural course of action was to talk to the college," Kolesar said.
Details have yet to be finalized, and it could still be some time before the inn is sold, Kolesar said.
"If the college was to acquire the business, the staff would be retained," Kolesar said.
He added that it is "not uncommon" for a college like Williams to get into the hospitality business. As an example, he said Amherst College owns a hotel adjoining the campus.
And if the inn were to be sold to the college, a management team would be brought in to run the operation.
Kolesar was complimentary of the Faulkners' tenure at the inn.
"They are an institution in town," he said. "How many important once in a lifetime events have been celebrated at the Williams Inn -- weddings, graduations, retirements."
The Williams Inn was established in 1912. The Faulkners came into the business in 1979 when Faulkner's company bought the inn. In 1991, The Faulkners became sole owners and operators of the Williams Inn.
According to his note to employees, Faulkner is foc-
used on the busy days ahead.
"For now, we urge you to keep on doing the good job you are doing," the note reads. "We have some busy days ahead that should bring you a few more hours and result in more pay."
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Text of the letter from the Faulkners to WIlliams Inn staff:
TO: All our Staff at The Inn
Some of you may have heard rumors lately concerning the status of The Williams Inn and that a possible sale to Williams College may take place. While all the details are not worked out and settled, that is the direction we are taking in an effort to put the Inn in good hands and retire after 35 years.
A lot of the details are yet to be worked out. There are many components that are unknown in this transition for it is a new step for us as well as for The Williams Inn.
We do know that the College will be bringing in a management company. Again, we don't know the particulars but we understand at this point that everyone will be kept on for the time being.
For now, we urge you to keep on doing the good job you are doing. We have some busy days ahead that should bring you a few more hours and result in more pay.
Because of rumors going around, we want to be up front with you and let you know what will be happening.
Carl and Marilyn and David Faulkner
February 12, 2014