The following is an interview with Francie King, owner of Chestnut Sweet, conducted by Discover Marblehead. To learn more about this rental in the historic shipyard district of Marblehead, call King at 617-293-8523 or visit chestnutsweet.com. King also serves on the Marblehead Current board of directors.
Tell us about Chestnut Sweet and why you started it.
My husband, Robert Erbetta, and I started Chestnut Sweet (at 36 Chestnut St.) in 2013 after deciding that the structure behind our house that had served for years as a three-bay garage and full workshop might have more practical uses and even some revenue potential. We spent about eight months converting half of that building into a two-floor space that could be used either for our businesses (our original thought), for family overflow or as an in-law apartment. We purposely designed the interior with comfort and simplicity in mind, and eventually we formally registered the space with the state as a bed-and-breakfast. People rent from us mostly in the summer, sometimes purely for pleasure and the enjoyment of Marblehead and the North Shore, and sometimes as an off-site workspace. We’re now seeing many return visitors who have begun to feel like family.
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?
Read widely, listen to your gut and keep things simple.
What is your favorite spot in Marblehead, and why?
That’s very tough, since there are so many sweet spots in Marblehead! The Red Steps, at the top of our street, is certainly one. (There’s a secret bench there.) The view from that spot, either night or day, is just spectacular. I also love Fort Sewall and the lovely quiet walking trails behind Seaside Park.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
OK, two things: I’m a trained scuba diver, and I’ve worked as a professional tailor and dressmaker.
The business spotlight is a weekly feature published in partnership with Discover Marblehead. Discover Marblehead is “dedicated to the promotion of our majestic seaside town of Marblehead, Massachusetts. Our mission is to highlight local businesses, tourism, community events and attractions through social media, email marketing and community outreach.” To learn more, visit discovermhd.com.