MOULTONBOROUGH — A nationally accredited cruise travel agency headquartered in the Lakes Region has outgrown its offices and is expanding not far from its current headquarters.
CruCon Cruise Outlet, founded by owner and company president Sandra Cleary in 1995, gained industry and local attention earlier this summer when it broke ground for new headquarters just weeks after earning a national award from Vacation.com and the first-ever Chairman’s Award from Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd.
The company’s new larger headquarters on Whittier Highway will accommodate double the number of employees — from 75 to 150 — when it is completed in spring of 2014. The specialty cruise travel agency’s new building will be 30,000 square feet and will feature an auditorium with stage and electronic presentation capabilities, recreation room, exercise room with men’s and women’s locker rooms and showers, and a staff lounge.
Cleary bought the land for the new headquarters last year after moving the company to Moultonborough from the Boston area. She relocated her company in the Lakes Region because of the quality of life here.
“Growing up, my family always vacationed in the Lakes Region, and it was a place that I always felt at home. There is such a different quality of life here in comparison to Boston,” she said. “From not having a parking spot in the morning, to the higher crime rate, it was becoming more and more clear to me that I wanted to relocate,” she said.
“I chose Moultonborough because of (Lake Winnipesaukee) and the quiet surroundings. I feel that it is an incentive to be able to live and work in as beautiful a place as the Lakes Region. Plus, the people here have real heart and truly care about one another,” Cleary said.
Cleary said when she decided to start her own business, a cruise agency seemed like an obvious choice because she had a passion for cruising.
“Since day one, it has been important for me to offer competitive rates and amenities without having guests sacrifice great service. For the last 18 years, CruCon Cruise Outlet has put the guest first, and I believe that is why we are successful,” she said.
The construction project will employ local companies such as Jason Drouin Custom Homes based in Gilford, with design by architect Dann Norris Batting of Chester. The new site will accommodate parking for more than 150 cars. Although the company has 300,000 clients in North America, customers seldom visit the headquarters as the company provides its services via phone and email.
Clean, green development
Moultonborough Town Planner Bruce Woodruff of the Office of Development Services said the planning board recognized the CruCon expansion was a nonindustrial use of land that would bring “clean office jobs” to the area.
Another attractive factor about this sizable project was that the company utilized green, environmentally friendly building practices such as a stormwater-management system that could prevent pollutants from getting into the lake and reduce the wintertime salt treatment load by 75 percent, he said.
“We worked very closely with the owner to make sure this was the greenest development we could get. They employed good stormwater-management practices, including the use of pervious pavement in the parking lot and pavers for walkways to not only retain stormwater on site, but filter it, and that’s great for the lake,” Woodruff said.
The development will include cisterns for firefighting water and a sprinkler system. “When it’s done, it really should look like it fits in with the neighborhood,” he said.
Woodruff said the company moved to Moultonborough in 2006 and leased smaller office space until recognizing the need for expansion. The company approached the town with expansion plans about a year and a half ago.
CruCon Cruise Outlet offers customized cruises to individual, group and business travelers worldwide. For more information, visit crucon.com or call (800) 493-6609.