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Innhopes

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Hello Everyone,
This is my first time on this forum. I want to thank you all for sharing your intimate details and helping aspirings on their way to happiness.

My husband and I were innkeepers back in 2000-2002 in Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia. We moved back to Pittsburgh in 2002, in hopes of opening our own B&B where our families are. Now it is 2008 and we should have been retired from the business by now!!!

We have two children (9 and 5) who can't wait for our dream to come true. They are very social little fellows.
Anyway, we recently found a gorgeous home in the school district that our kids are currently in and are hoping that this might finally be it.
We are also feeling like we are going to throw up.
I ask God every night to just beat me down if this is not the right choice, but so far no beatings.
We are concerned, of course, for the industry with the way that the economy is right now. We are wondering if this is a good time to open a business. On the other hand, if the economy were better, we wouldn't be able to afford this house.
The house needs some work to get it B&B ready. The kitchen needs an overhaul, bathrooms need added, the flooring is miserable, but fortunately my husband can do alot of the work himself.
Any Input, reassurance, or even that good old slap in the face would be greatly appreciated.
I recognize some of you from other forums that I used to chat on years ago. It is so great to see you still in business. Although I see that El is retired. She was ALWAYS helpful.
I also am feeling a special connection with a few of you. Seashanty, I am so happy to hear that you are making this work with children. You are such a strong person. With all that you face it sounds like you are still a fabulous mother. I applaud you for that. I am so sorry to hear about all of your trials. Just remember that where you end up is where you are meant to be!!!!!
Gillum House, we are apparantly relatively close to each other if you were listed in a Pittsburgh Publication. Hope to meet you soon. Would love to talk more about your target market.
Enough out of me for now. Thanks again for all that you do here and I hope to be one of you soon!!!
Lori
PS where is the spell check??
 

gillumhouse

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Just pop down the I-79 corridor to Exit #124 and come into Shinnston.
 

Morticia

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You know everyone's first comment will be: Get the zoning in place before anything else happens!
 

Don Draper

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Welcome Lori!
DH and I both went to PItt and lived in Cheswick for several years afterward. It is one of our favorite places on earth, and all of our favorite Inn guests seem to come from Pittsburgh as well! Best of luck to you and your family as you get ready for this undertaking.
Not sure where your B&B will be located, will your primary target audience be tourists or are you more rural and looking for more "outdoorsy" types?
 

JeannineIrish

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I don't know how everyone else is doing with the downturn of the economy, but our personal experience has been that it has effected the lodging business. This past summer we probably turned away as many people as we accepted and that does not count the people that may have gone to our website and seen that we had no availability and didn't bother to call. We had lots of walk-ups which we never had before. All the lodging places I would call to find them accommodations were also booked. The strength of the Euro brought lots of Europeans, Australians and Asians.
I know that retail stores were hurting but IMHO people are still going to travel. Maybe not as far but they are still going to need a place to sleep and eat. We are not one of the high-end Boutique B & B's. We are reasonably priced and a very homey atmosphere. Maybe with less money to spend vacationers may opt for the reasonably priced and the Boutique B & B's and Hotels may see a lose of business.
And as long as you don't have to sell, now is the time to buy.
 

swirt

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Hi Lori,
Welcome.
Hard to say whether it is a good idea or not as there just aren't enough details about your plan or your area or your financial situation. Sweat equity (your DH doing the construction work) is great, but only if he has the time to do it and the money for materials. If he is working a day job and only putting in the sweat on weekends and vacation time, then it may make things take a lot longer.
There is no spell checker built in here. One I recommend using is the one built into the Google toolbar. The Google toolbar is available for every major browser on every platform. I recommend it because it will be with you no matter where you browse.
 

gillumhouse

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Lori, you already know you have a large population base to draw from. (Did not have time to really answer before.) Welcome to the Forum BTW.
Since you were innkeepers before, I assumed you know the zoning, etc and the basic how tos.
As for impact from the economy - I think it is more of a "created" crisis than a real one. The Market seems to be in the process of correcting itself as usual. The losses are for those who panic and sell. Those who sit it out will rebound. Even if people stop traveling distances, they are still going to have special occaisions needing a getaway or take trips to "The City". What part of Pittsburgh? Schenley Park? Squirrel Hill? West Mifflin? Downtown? Oakland? We both know each of these areas has its own special reasons to draw guests and all are near everything.
You will be able to put together packages with the Incline and the musuems - such a shame they took out the trolley tracks! There is always so much happening there - sports, plays, concerts.... You are close to Friendship Hill and Fort Necessity for day trip routings for people who want to see History and with the Blockhouse of Fort Pitt at the Point... You have enough of a draw that unless there is an out and out total Depression, you should be OK with proper marketing.
 

YellowSocks

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:welcome: !!
SS's kids are all grown up... I'm one of the crazy ones with little guys.
We're only 3 hours or so from Pittsburgh....
=)
Kk.
 

Innhopes

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Welcome Lori!
DH and I both went to PItt and lived in Cheswick for several years afterward. It is one of our favorite places on earth, and all of our favorite Inn guests seem to come from Pittsburgh as well! Best of luck to you and your family as you get ready for this undertaking.
Not sure where your B&B will be located, will your primary target audience be tourists or are you more rural and looking for more "outdoorsy" types?.
Thanks everyone for the warm welcome!!!!
InnsiderInfo are you close to pittsburgh now? How do you draw guests from this area? That is great that you went to Pitt.
We are actually out towards the Airport, near the West Virginia line. We are in a rapidly expanding area just 20 minutes from the city and 10 from the airport.
We are hoping to attract business people flying in and out of the airport and are also very interested in hosting weddings. There are over 2 acres with the house. The weddings have always been a big thing for us. I have been a wedding photographer for the last 13 years, so I am very familiar with the industry. We also had our wedding at a B&B. The B&B's in this area that offer weddings seem to do very well.
There are numerous other attractions soon to be opening in this area. One is a 432 acre Botanic Garden due to open in 2009 that is only minutes from us. That is expected to bring in hundreds of thousands of people each year. Here is the website http://www.botanicgardenwpa.org/ourlocation.htm.
I forget some of the other questions that were asked so I am going to have to read again.
Thanks again everyone!!!
 

Innhopes

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Hi Lori,
Welcome.
Hard to say whether it is a good idea or not as there just aren't enough details about your plan or your area or your financial situation. Sweat equity (your DH doing the construction work) is great, but only if he has the time to do it and the money for materials. If he is working a day job and only putting in the sweat on weekends and vacation time, then it may make things take a lot longer.
There is no spell checker built in here. One I recommend using is the one built into the Google toolbar. The Google toolbar is available for every major browser on every platform. I recommend it because it will be with you no matter where you browse..
Hi Swirt,
Thanks for the spell check advice.
My husband is a cyber teacher, so he works from home and has alot of flexibility. We will also be hiring a contractor that will be doing some of the work as well. We are working out all of the figures now for how much these renovations will be costing us. What would you say is a good amount to have set aside for working capital and what would you say are must haves as far as advertising??
 

Innhopes

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Lori, you already know you have a large population base to draw from. (Did not have time to really answer before.) Welcome to the Forum BTW.
Since you were innkeepers before, I assumed you know the zoning, etc and the basic how tos.
As for impact from the economy - I think it is more of a "created" crisis than a real one. The Market seems to be in the process of correcting itself as usual. The losses are for those who panic and sell. Those who sit it out will rebound. Even if people stop traveling distances, they are still going to have special occaisions needing a getaway or take trips to "The City". What part of Pittsburgh? Schenley Park? Squirrel Hill? West Mifflin? Downtown? Oakland? We both know each of these areas has its own special reasons to draw guests and all are near everything.
You will be able to put together packages with the Incline and the musuems - such a shame they took out the trolley tracks! There is always so much happening there - sports, plays, concerts.... You are close to Friendship Hill and Fort Necessity for day trip routings for people who want to see History and with the Blockhouse of Fort Pitt at the Point... You have enough of a draw that unless there is an out and out total Depression, you should be OK with proper marketing..
Hello Gillum House,
We already have the zoning in line. Oddly when we first moved back to PGH. We had a hearing to have them allow B&B's in R-2 and B-1. It was approved and they welcomed a B&B with open arms. Now (6 yrs later), the property that we are interested in is B-1. We know a lot of the basics yes. The one Inn that we ran in VA was run solely by us and our 2 yr old (now 9) while my husband also worked a full time job and I worked my photography career. The Inn ran at 55% occupancy and we rarely slept or ate.
We are actually 20 minutes west of the city, closer to the airport.
Thanks for the ideas. What types of guests do you get? Weekend getaways? Do you do weddings?
 

EmptyNest

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Welcome!!! Well you know i grew up about 45 min. West of Pittsburgh and lived most of my life there. I love Pittsburgh. Botanic Gardens...hmmm that sounds very interesting. If you can handle the payment and get financing now....it is a great time to take the plunge. Given that..do your homework. You will need more than a Botanic Garden to draw guests to your inn.
And of course we already mentioned zoning. And since you have already run a B & B..you know what you are in for:)
Will one of you have a full time job to pay the bills and have health insurance? Lots ot consider but we wish you all the best.
 

Innhopes

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:welcome: !!
SS's kids are all grown up... I'm one of the crazy ones with little guys.
We're only 3 hours or so from Pittsburgh....
=)
Kk..
Hi there Yellow Socks,
I actually meant to add you in there too, but I ran out of time. I definately went on and checked out your site when I saw that you had little ones. I love it!! Your Inn is beautiful. I know you are exhausted though. Only one more year and your boys will off to kindergarten and you will have a whole 2 1/2 hours just for Inn work.

I am very excited for you. How long have you been open? Did you have a lot of renovations? I hope to meet you sometime.
Take care.
 

Innhopes

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Welcome!!! Well you know i grew up about 45 min. West of Pittsburgh and lived most of my life there. I love Pittsburgh. Botanic Gardens...hmmm that sounds very interesting. If you can handle the payment and get financing now....it is a great time to take the plunge. Given that..do your homework. You will need more than a Botanic Garden to draw guests to your inn.
And of course we already mentioned zoning. And since you have already run a B & B..you know what you are in for:)
Will one of you have a full time job to pay the bills and have health insurance? Lots ot consider but we wish you all the best..
Thanks Catlady,
You are another one of my boys favorites. Although my oldest says if she is catlady does that mean she has more than us?? We have 4.
Where did you grow up? We are in Oakdale now and the property that we are hoping to purchase is imperial.
Where are you now?
 

EmptyNest

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Welcome!!! Well you know i grew up about 45 min. West of Pittsburgh and lived most of my life there. I love Pittsburgh. Botanic Gardens...hmmm that sounds very interesting. If you can handle the payment and get financing now....it is a great time to take the plunge. Given that..do your homework. You will need more than a Botanic Garden to draw guests to your inn.
And of course we already mentioned zoning. And since you have already run a B & B..you know what you are in for:)
Will one of you have a full time job to pay the bills and have health insurance? Lots ot consider but we wish you all the best..
Thanks Catlady,
You are another one of my boys favorites. Although my oldest says if she is catlady does that mean she has more than us?? We have 4.
Where did you grow up? We are in Oakdale now and the property that we are hoping to purchase is imperial.
Where are you now?
.
Used to have 6 now down to my last on who is 15:)
I am in LURAY VA. now...grew up in Newell, WV ( Mountaineer ???)
Imperial huh??? Has the area improved any over the past few years??? haven't been anywhere near it for many many years.
Near the airport, but that is not always a positive:-(
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Welcome back Lori!
If you are very hesitant, than I wouldn't do it. You need ULTIMATE WILL POWER AND STRENGTH AND DETERMINATION to open an Inn. Not just to run an inn, that is like the gravy on the potatoes. Getting the place up and running and bringing in guests is not an easy road to walk. You worked at another B&B (which you did not own, is this correct?) So it was established.
Your husband will be working full time and renovating evening/weekends? That could take quite a while to be GUEST READY - have you put that into the plan as well - meaning, you have already waited so long, getting the place to the OPEN state could be a few more years?
All the best in whatever you do!
(PS Seashanty has grown children in case you mixed her up with someone else - there are a few on the forum with school age children and toddlers)
 

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