Christians convert Brewer motel into family-oriented cafe and eatery

Posted Jan. 26, 2009, at 10:40 a.m.

BREWER – Zach and Anna Trundy swore four years ago that they would never return to the former Twin City Motel after spending just one night there. It turned out not to be the kind of place where the former innkeepers wanted to celebrate their 22nd wedding anniversary.

Now, the couple lives and works at the Wilson Street motel, recently renamed the Vacationland Village Inn & Suites.

The Trundys, along with the new owners Ross and Cheryl Bradford, are working to transform the motel into a family-centered inn for travelers and visitors. Part of that conversion has included renovating most of the rooms and turning the basement bar into the Lighthouse Christian Cafe.

Instead of holding its regular hours today, the cafe will invite patrons outside onto the motel lawn for an Independence Day event that includes a low-priced barbecue. The event will be held 5-10 p.m., with Christian bands performing throughout the evening.

“We wanted to offer a good, old-fashioned picnic,” Anna Trundy, 43, said last week. “It’s a safe family atmosphere with no alcohol. And you can see the fireworks from here.”

Zach Trundy, 45, and Anna Trundy met as students at Central High School in Corinth. He honed his innkeeping skills working in Bangor area motels while she worked at fast-food restaurants. In the late 1990s, they owned and operated a bed-and-breakfast in Blue Hill but sold it after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Then they moved to Kenduskeag and rented property from the Bradfords. Zach Trundy owned a bread route. The more he drove, the more he felt a call to ministry, but he was unsure exactly what form it should take.

His answer came 16 months ago.

Ross Bradford, 53, and Cheryl Bradford, 52, of Orrington bought the Brewer motel in March 2007 after running a boarding home for the elderly in Bangor and owning a diesel fuel company. They too felt that God had something in store for them that would offer travelers and area residents more than a clean room and safe haven for a night or two.

“I felt that we should try to have a place like this cafe – a neutral place where Christians could come together in fellowship,” Ross Bradford said last week in the former motel bar. “I didn’t really think about how to do that until we walked through the motel and saw the bar. It didn’t come to us how the whole idea could work until we saw this place.

“We were praying hard whether or not to do this,” he continued. “We thought that we didn’t know anyone who could help us. Then Zach and Anna Trundy just came into my heart. We knew God had called them to do some kind of full-time ministry.”

After two days of their own prayerful consideration, the Trundys said they would join the Bradfords in ministry to run the cafe and help out with the motel.

The basement bar, according to Anna Trundy, looked like it hadn’t been redecorated since the mid-1980s. It wasn’t the atmosphere they felt would be welcoming for teens, young adults and Christian families.

By carefully scouring through furniture from restaurants and bars that had been torn down, the Trundys created a more welcoming environment. The booths are from the defunct Friendly’s restaurants in Bangor and Brewer.

The chairs and tables are from the Bounty nightclub. The stage used for weekend entertainment is from Killarney’s Restaurant. The Bounty and Killarney’s were located in the Holiday Inn on Main Street that was torn down to make way for the recently completed Hollywood Slots complex.

Anna Trundy painted a lighthouse on one wall to signify how Christ can be a beacon in calm or raging seas. They also brought in pool and pingpong tables.

One room is used for the expanded continental breakfast offered by the motel. It also is used for devotional time by church youth groups that come several times a month on weekends.

Joe Stellato of New Life Ministries in Bangor has helped the couple book music for the Fourth of July and weekends. He said the cafe fulfills a need for young Christians in the community who want a welcoming place to hang out.

“This is a safe place where no one is going to be put down for what they believe,” Stellato said. “It doesn’t have the formality of church, but it’s a Christian atmosphere where people of all denominations can come together as a body.”

So far, news of the cafe has been spread mostly through word of mouth. Last month, the Trundys sent out fliers with information about it to more than 200 area churches.

The Bradfords also are working to market the motel for church retreats and to Canadians in the Maritimes. Once people come and see how things have changed, Ross Bradford said, they become repeat customers.

“Part of our spiritual gift is hospitality,” Zach Trundy said. “Maybe God had the plan when he led us here.”

The Lighthouse Christian Cafe is open 5-11 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For information on the Lighthouse Christian Cafe, visit www.lighthousechristiancafe.com or call 989-5450. For information on the motel, visit www.VacationlandVillageInn.com or call 800-990-1325.

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