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Photo of island acres patios with an overlay for Economic Development Week for Island Acres' blog "The Ripple Effect of Booking Local Accommodations"

In celebration of Economic Development Week we are telling the story of Island Acres Resort Motel its role in our local economy here in Gunnison. Did you know that booking local accommodations for your travels has a ripple effect on the economic development of that local community? Let us share the story of our family-owned resort motel in Gunnison, CO to convince you to book local for your next adventure, wherever it may take you!

A Modern Day Motel

The modern story of Island Acres Resort Motel is outlined through an interview the Gunnison Country Times published in 2022 titled, Island Acres’ accidental innkeepers to host Business After Hours. In short, we purchased the motel with the intention of building new housing accommodations, but the economic downturn of 2008 forced us to reconsider our plan and keep the original motel. We have since invested in maintaining the historical significance of the property and would describe Island Acres as a renovated American icon—a hidden gem in a quiet neighborhood.

History of Island Acres Resort Motel

The history of Island Acres is full of interesting tidbits. So interesting, in fact, that we have a book documenting its history called The Motel that Elmo Built. Elmo refers to the eccentric Elmo Bevington who was a historical figure in Colorado, perhaps most well known for developing Monarch Pass on Highway 50.

Elmo Bevington

Bevington is an interesting character in Colorado history. He has roots in Salida, Colorado where he established a love for Colorado’s native mountain goat amongst several other projects. his love and passion for the goats led to conservation efforts. Today, a gathering to bring awareness to the animals and their conservation is still held.

Elmo Bevington was also responsible for being the first to develop Monarch pass in Colorado. He was a beer and soda distributor, he served in the US military during WWII, and Bevington was an overall entrepreneur.

A smaller and less known development of Bevington’s was the Island Acres Resort Motel. The original Island Acres was to serve as farm and ranch land with lodging accommodations where travelers could rest and relax for a few days as they made their way across the great Rocky Mountains.

Island Acres and the Local Community

Local history such as the stories of Elmo Bevington represent a strong community and a thriving local economy. Bevington’s projects in and around Gunnison show he believed Gunnison was an attractive destination for travelers. He proudly dedicated his own energy and resources to provide comfortable lodging and attractions for visitors.

At Island Acres, Bevington’s stories continue to resonate in how we choose to operate our business. We are constantly working to engage with the local community to build relationships and the local economy. An example of such efforts is the list of local businesses, organizations, and initiatives we support as sponsors. That ever-growing list includes:

  • City and County of Gunnison
  • Community Foundation of Gunnison Valley
  • Crested Butte Music Festival
  • Gunnison Art Center
  • Gunnison Car Club and show
  • Gunnison Country Chamber of Commerce
  • Gunnison High School
  • Gunnison River Festival
  • Gunnison Trails
  • Gunnison Valley Animal Welfare League
  • I Bar Ranch
  • Gunnison Pioneer Museum
  • Mountaineer Athletic Association
  • Crested Butte School of Dance
  • Hartman Castle Preservation Corporation

In addition to our local partnerships with businesses, we also provide our resources when the community needs them most. For instance, when the Lowline Fire hit our community in 2023, Island Acres provided discounted housing to temporary medical workers and subcontractors. These vital workers who were keeping our community safe did not have as large of a per diem as the firefighters. That meant many may have had to sleep in their cars had Island Acres not provided temporary housing at a rate that would be covered by their employers.

Island Acres’ Role in Economic Development

Our community-focused assistance during the 2023 wildfires was not exceptional. Island Acres has a proud reputation of reciprocity in the community, including supporting our fellow local small businesses. In creating and maintaining such community connections, Island Acres plays a vital role in local economic development. We are excited to publish this blog advocating for booking local accommodations in celebration of Economic Development Week!

Each season, we draw visitors to the Gunnison Valley who visit their favorite downtown shops and eat at their favorite local restaurants. While not every guest comes to Gunnison to stay at Island Acres, we have many longtime guests who do. The history of Island Acres and the stories that come with it create a sense of place for our guests that keeps them coming back, year after year.

Island Acres plays a proud role in the local economy, and we plan to continue helping Gunnison thrive into the future. So, next time you are looking for a place to stay, especially in a small town like Gunnison, think about booking local accommodations. In doing so, you will be a part of the ripple effect that small town economies rely on to thrive.