The Exeter Newsletter visited the Inn and wrote a great story about Jaime and the Inn!
Former Navy Officer Takes Control Of Historic Inn
By Melissa Proulx
August 02, 2013
EXETER — It seems as though fate brought Jamie Lopez to Exeter's Inn by the Bandstand.
"I believe in destiny," Lopez said. "This is one of the things where you're doing it and it just feels right. I couldn't have asked for a better place to be."
Lopez took over ownership of the inn in June and said he finally feels like he is where he belongs, although his path hasn't always led him in this direction.
Born in Los Angeles, Calif., Lopez and his family relocated to a small town in Mexico named Zapotlán el Grande, where he spent the majority of his life until traveling back to California to attend high school.
After graduating in 2001, Lopez decided to join the U.S. Navy, and worked on a nuclear submarine, the USS Salt Lake City. He worked in the weapons division as a junior officer second class, where he was in charge of "taking care of the missiles, torpedoes and other small arms" on board.
During his time at sea, Lopez visited many places around the world, including Japan, South Korea, Guam and Hawaii, fulfilling his desire to travel the world.
"I wanted to explore the world," Lopez said. "It's such a cliche, but it's so true."
The USS Salt Lake City was brought to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in 2006, where the crew worked to decommission the sub for a year.
Even though he said he had a "great experience" during the five years he served, Lopez decided to began a new chapter of his life.
"I knew that it was time to do what I've always wanted to do: get a college degree," Lopez said.
Lopez enrolled in the University of New Hampshire's former Whittemore School of Business and Economics in 2007, majoring in hospitality management. He was attracted to the major by its flexibility and how well it could be translated into various fields.
With the help of his "wonderful professors" and his own determination, he graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in 2010.
Lopez has worked for a couple other hotels in the area since then, including the Exeter Inn and the Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel, but he said he felt a disconnect while working there.
"I had tried the corporate world (of hospitality) and realized it wasn't for me," Lopez said.
After learning the Inn by the Bandstand was for sale, he fell in love with its unique history and intimate environment.
The inn, which was built in 1809, offers nine antique furnished and individually themed rooms that give guests a peek into the past while allowing them access to modern conveniences.
Because the inn is situated right in the middle of downtown, Lopez said that the location does make the inn quite popular, but that the environment is what truly sets it apart.
"This jewel has an exceptional level of personalized service," Lopez said. "We want to show guests how we truly live."
Lopez said he believes that while working for the inn, he will be able to utilize many of the skills that his professors taught him, including marketing, sales and revenue management.
During his short time running the inn, Lopez has done his best to maintain the inn's integrity. He said the only "major" changes he has made so far is the rearranging of some furniture.
Lopez said he has focused on keeping the classic feel of the inn and wants it to be known for the way it is run.
Lopez added he is thankful for the support he has received while learning how to run the inn.
"I have a lot on my plate," Lopez said. "It wouldn't have been such a seamless transition without the help of the two business partners, (Agostinho Nunes and David Bair), and (assistant innkeeper) Kimmy Davis."
"I can't wait to see the inn a year from now, even three years from now," Lopez said. "Even when (my team and I) are done, the inn will still be standing."