Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

February 8, 2010

Longhorn hotel changes hands

By Betty Allison
Mineral Wells Index

GORDON — On the south corner of Interstate 20 and State Highway 108 sits the western-looking Longhorn Hotel and Country Store. John and Nan Brandt, the owners, recently found a large house located in the Metroplex advertised on Craig’s List. It advertised to be trade for commercial property in Dallas County.

The Brandts contacted the owners, Gus and Chae Raymond, and told them about their property that they wished to trade for the Raymond’s house. Even though the motel and store were not in Dallas County, the Raymond’s thought, “Why not just look?” So they drove from the Metroplex to Palo Pinto County and visited with the Brandts.

After a few weeks, a deal was made for the trade. Now, Gus is busy working on their new project. For the past 30 years, he has been in the home improvement business. He is using that experience to “spruce up” his new acquisition. The motel has 20 rooms, sixteen non-smoking. Single rooms are $55. and doubles are $65. Gus is a native Texan and advertises the motel as: “American Owned.”

The good news is what he has planned for the country store. He is expanding the store to include fresh products like milk, eggs, bread, cheese, ice cream and many basic items sold at reasonable prices. He will also carry lots of frozen items, like pizza. This is wonderful news to those of us who live in and around Gordon, because we now have to travel 25 miles to buy any of these items. Of course there are all kinds of snacks and drinks. They have gifts and some items like one would find at Sam Moon’s.

They advertise that they have clean restrooms – and they are! When staying at the motel, one is given a 10 percent discount on any item in the store. Video rentals will soon be available. They carry cat and dog food, Dublin Dr Peppers, some locally made items, metal stars, all kinds of nicknacks, music CD’s, Morenci candles (made in Gordon), fried pies from Backroads Bakery (also a Gordon product) and Ancient Art Soaps, made in Strawn.

Gus is so pleased with the employees who have been there for some time. He is amazed at how the public responds favorably to their warm reception. He has a good, loyal group of employees, which he depends on to help “build up” the business.

Next door to the motel is a two-story home where the Brandts lived. At one time, the downstairs held a restaurant and the upstairs a club. John is very talented at remodeling. He redid the downstairs for their living quarters. It has a rustic, western atmosphere. Now that Gus has the property, he is trying to decide exactly what he can do with the “house.” The Raymonds don’t plan to live there because Chae has a business and (strangely) they like living in the Metroplex! He is “toying” with the idea of making a hunting lodge or reopening the upstairs club with Karaoke, pool tables, pizza, beer and wine or a sports bar. The downstairs has the possibilities of making it available for family reunions, receptions, parties, etc.

Whatever Gus plans to do, he will do it well and provide something that will enhance southern Palo Pinto County.