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Arks

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Y'all have been very patient has I've poked my inexperienced nose in here the last couple of weeks. I think it's time for me to run my business plan by the experts for some input.
I'm in an Arkansas town of about 8,000, the largest town in a county of about 20,000. The only accommodations in town are one large chain hotel and a couple of small local (not chain) motels. No B&B in the county.
I have a good, well-paying job which I'll keep. I can afford to do this project even if it nets little or no income (though of course I'd like it to be a success). So I don't have to rely on this business for my income or even to make payments on the loan to do it. I'm just doing it because I want to, and because I want my town to have such a facility as this to offer our tiny but growing stream of tourists. That being said, I fully intend to promote it, run it well, and make a success of it.
I'm in the process of buying one of the oldest (1880) commercial buildings right in the heart of downtown. I plan to restore the 2-story front facade to its 1880 appearance and turn the place into a guest house, meaning the guests are left alone in the place at night, with access to their room and all the public areas.
Below are some ideas for what I want. I'm putting them together to show the architect next Friday, so I thought it would be good to run them by you first.
Ground floor plans:
  • A small (15 ft. x 30 ft.) convenience store (the downtown area has none at present though there are about 20 downtown apartments and about 100 people living downtown). Store will be manned 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The store will open both onto the front sidewalk and also into the guest house lobby. The person manning the store will also check guests in and out, answer questions, solve problems, etc. The doorway between the guesthouse lobby and the store will be closed at night of course. Late arrivers will get a code to open the keypad locked front door and check themselves in. I'll hire cleaning staff separate from the store staff.
  • A half-bath (toilet and lavatory).
  • Small closet for 1st floor cleaning supplies and equipment.
  • Space near the front entry for a stuffed love seat and a couple of comfortable chairs where people can wait for others in their group before going out on the town.
  • Enough space for small tables and chairs so everybody in the house can eat at the same time, if necessary. This area will also have enough counter/storage space for a coffee maker, sugar, creamer, cups, saucers, etc.
  • A guest lounge (bar) with 3 or 4 comfortable armchairs, coffee table, a couple of bar stools, wet bar, variety of wine and cocktail glasses, blender, ice maker (to serve the whole house) and flat screen TV. I'm picturing an Irish pub feel to the room. We won't sell alcohol. Guests have to bring their own, but I'll have everything else they need to have a nice lounge.
  • A guest kitchen with range, oven, refrigerator, microwave, so guests who want to do some of their own cooking can do so. I'll add a dining table there if there's room.
  • One handicapped-accessible guest room will be on the ground floor.
Second floor plans:
  • A sitting/reading area near the top of the stairs.
  • A dry sauna large enough to hold 7 to 8 people, with an adjacent shower.
  • Laundry/storage room with enough space for 2 or 3 roll-away beds.
  • 4 or 5 guest rooms, depending on what the architect comes up with.
Ideally the guest rooms will contain:
  • Closet space comparable to a standard hotel room.
  • Bathroom with shower, lavatory and toilet.
  • A king size bed, or two double or queen size beds.
  • Night stand on each side of the bed(s).
  • Small chest of drawers.
  • Room to open an collapsible luggage rack.
  • A couple of comfortable chairs. A coffee table or end table.
  • Flat screen TV that can be seen from both the bed and the sitting area.
  • A small desk and chair.
  • A professional-grade Jacuzzi large enough for two people. (I got all this from suggestions on this forum.) These must have access panels to get inside for repairs. Floors must be made capable of holding the weight. Get models with built-in cleaning system that flushes bleach through tubes for cleaning. A hand sprayer can also help make them easier to clean.
We're also planning to put a garden up on the roof since there are some nice views from up there. No BBQ or other fire hazard. Just table, chairs, chaise loungers, planters for shrubs and flowers.
The back of the building is currently a small grassy area surrounded by other buildings on all sides, except for one small area that gives access to the street on the side of the building. I'm wanting to turn this space into a courtyard with a guest BBQ grill.
I don't yet know the state laws on any of this (I'm going to a 3-day seminar in July, here in the state). But if law allows, I plan to limit guests to people age 10 and up. No pets. I'm planning to charge fairly high fees for this area, like $145 to $165/night. We're about equal distance from Memphis, Little Rock, and St. Louis so that's where I'll promote the place.
Here's a big thing. I'm planning to include breakfast in the room charge, but I'm not planning to prepare it on-site. There's an "upscale cafe" a block way that serves everything from cereal to Eggs Benedict for breakfast, great lunch and dinner menus. So I'm planning to give guests a daily breakfast voucher to use there. The voucher will be enough to get anything up to the level of 2 eggs, hashbrowns, biscuit, choice of meat, and drink. if they want something more expensive like the Eggs Benedict they can pay the difference.
I'm also going to offer "room service" where if the guest pays the cafe's delivery fee the cafe will bring the food over to the guest house, where folks can eat in the guest house dining area or carry the tray up to their room to eat. Of course they could also order this way for other times of day, paying the full charge for lunch, dinner, snacks, etc. themselves. Cleaning staff will handle returning dirty trays of dishes to the cafe later.
You input is most welcome! Thanks a million!
 

gillumhouse

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PARKING!!!! You do not mention anything about parking area or how far away they will be parkig.
This sounds very much like what I told a managment company in Kentucky. The moneyman owner had spent 4 years of $$$ for 2 men ro rehab an historic house - and it still was not finished but was beautiful. When I first saw it I had 2 questions since he wanted it to be a B & B - where is the kitchen and where is the dining room? He also owned the chain hotel that was less than 100 yards away and thought they could bring a hot cart across with breakfasts from the hotel. I did not recommend doing that.
The hotel had a room that had not been finished because they could not decide what to do with it. I suggested that be a reservation only dinner high-end restaurant (something the city did NOT have and needed) and serve breakfast only to the guests at the guesthouse (it was not possible to make it a B & B as it was). The breakfast staff could be the prep chefs for the dinners. Reservations only would control waste of food and control staffing as it would determine number of staff required. I wish I knew what they did because I never heard anything about it after my original consultation.
 

Breakfast Diva

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It's an interesting concept and lots to discuss, but my first red flag would be I just don't see how you can have the one employee manning the store and doing check-ins and handling questions and problems. If it's the only convenience store in the area, it could be quite popular with the residents and you'll have to close it up every time a guest needs something or checks in? Doesn't sound like a good idea to me.
 

gillumhouse

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It's an interesting concept and lots to discuss, but my first red flag would be I just don't see how you can have the one employee manning the store and doing check-ins and handling questions and problems. If it's the only convenience store in the area, it could be quite popular with the residents and you'll have to close it up every time a guest needs something or checks in? Doesn't sound like a good idea to me..
Yes, minimum of 2 people will end up being needed for the store, and I would have a designated desk person for check-in hours - they could always "help" in the store, but with this large a concept, having someone on duty to help guests would be wise, especially with that many rooms. Who is going to unplug the toilet at 2 AM or deal with the clooged drain, leaking pipes, no hot water, burst hot water tank, need for extra towels.....
If you are planning to be charging high-end, you need to provide high-end service.
To me, this plan makes sense except on the service end of the guesthouse. And you may, if the area would support it, wish to make the convenience store a bit of the high-end specialties not found anywhere else in town. Yes, the normal bread, milk, etc but perhaps a few of the special cheeses or imported items..... Make yourself a "cut above" what may be available elsewhere - and market as such.
Just reread: 15 x 30 is probably not enough space to do specialty. Sorry - it was just a thought.
 

Arks

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PARKING!!!! You do not mention anything about parking area or how far away they will be parkig.
This sounds very much like what I told a managment company in Kentucky. The moneyman owner had spent 4 years of $$$ for 2 men ro rehab an historic house - and it still was not finished but was beautiful. When I first saw it I had 2 questions since he wanted it to be a B & B - where is the kitchen and where is the dining room? He also owned the chain hotel that was less than 100 yards away and thought they could bring a hot cart across with breakfasts from the hotel. I did not recommend doing that.
The hotel had a room that had not been finished because they could not decide what to do with it. I suggested that be a reservation only dinner high-end restaurant (something the city did NOT have and needed) and serve breakfast only to the guests at the guesthouse (it was not possible to make it a B & B as it was). The breakfast staff could be the prep chefs for the dinners. Reservations only would control waste of food and control staffing as it would determine number of staff required. I wish I knew what they did because I never heard anything about it after my original consultation..
Yes, I've thought about parking. There's a lot of free on-street parking on both sides of the street in front of the building, but I'm also considering buying a horrible large metal warehouse that's currently the back "wall" of the courtyard, getting rid of the building and making that parking.
I'm going to have to screen that building anyway, with a vine-covered wall. If I make it parking, the screen will serve to hide the parking lot.
The warehouse was for a store that's going out of business, so I can probably get it fairly cheaply, especially if I dismantle and sell the large metal building.
 

Arks

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It's an interesting concept and lots to discuss, but my first red flag would be I just don't see how you can have the one employee manning the store and doing check-ins and handling questions and problems. If it's the only convenience store in the area, it could be quite popular with the residents and you'll have to close it up every time a guest needs something or checks in? Doesn't sound like a good idea to me..
I think the staffing is something I can adjust fairly quickly as I go. If I see I need more help, I'll get it. There are plenty of people around here looking for work!
I don't think the store will be doing any booming business. There was a convenience store downtown for years and it never had more than one employee there at a time. Most of the time that person was sitting on the front porch whittling. When the owner retired, he closed the store because nobody was interested in buying it.
But yes, I'll certainly get as much staff as I find the place requires.
 

Innkeeper To Go

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It's an interesting concept and lots to discuss, but my first red flag would be I just don't see how you can have the one employee manning the store and doing check-ins and handling questions and problems. If it's the only convenience store in the area, it could be quite popular with the residents and you'll have to close it up every time a guest needs something or checks in? Doesn't sound like a good idea to me..
I think the staffing is something I can adjust fairly quickly as I go. If I see I need more help, I'll get it. There are plenty of people around here looking for work!
I don't think the store will be doing any booming business. There was a convenience store downtown for years and it never had more than one employee there at a time. Most of the time that person was sitting on the front porch whittling. When the owner retired, he closed the store because nobody was interested in buying it.
But yes, I'll certainly get as much staff as I find the place requires.
.
Arkansawyer said:
I think the staffing is something I can adjust fairly quickly as I go. If I see I need more help, I'll get it. There are plenty of people around here looking for work!
I don't think the store will be doing any booming business. There was a convenience store downtown for years and it never had more than one employee there at a time. Most of the time that person was sitting on the front porch whittling. When the owner retired, he closed the store because nobody was interested in buying it.
But yes, I'll certainly get as much staff as I find the place requires.
I actually know a small inn that does this effectively. Sometimes, especially during the week, there's only 1 person staffing the desk which is also the cashier for the little store. On busy days, extra staffing is sometimes needed.
As long as you are ready to staff up when you need to, you might find a way to create an extra revenue stream and provide convenience for guests and townsfolk alike.
 

Arks

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It's an interesting concept and lots to discuss, but my first red flag would be I just don't see how you can have the one employee manning the store and doing check-ins and handling questions and problems. If it's the only convenience store in the area, it could be quite popular with the residents and you'll have to close it up every time a guest needs something or checks in? Doesn't sound like a good idea to me..
I think the staffing is something I can adjust fairly quickly as I go. If I see I need more help, I'll get it. There are plenty of people around here looking for work!
I don't think the store will be doing any booming business. There was a convenience store downtown for years and it never had more than one employee there at a time. Most of the time that person was sitting on the front porch whittling. When the owner retired, he closed the store because nobody was interested in buying it.
But yes, I'll certainly get as much staff as I find the place requires.
.
Arkansawyer said:
I think the staffing is something I can adjust fairly quickly as I go. If I see I need more help, I'll get it. There are plenty of people around here looking for work!
I don't think the store will be doing any booming business. There was a convenience store downtown for years and it never had more than one employee there at a time. Most of the time that person was sitting on the front porch whittling. When the owner retired, he closed the store because nobody was interested in buying it.
But yes, I'll certainly get as much staff as I find the place requires.
I actually know a small inn that does this effectively. Sometimes, especially during the week, there's only 1 person staffing the desk which is also the cashier for the little store. On busy days, extra staffing is sometimes needed.
As long as you are ready to staff up when you need to, you might find a way to create an extra revenue stream and provide convenience for guests and townsfolk alike.
.
Innkeeper To Go said:
I actually know a small inn that does this effectively...you might find a way to create an extra revenue stream and provide convenience for guests and townsfolk alike.
You just made my day!
The idea for the store strictly came from the fact that my place will be too small to pay somebody to be there all day on the outside chance that someone might come in off the street and want a room. Having the store lets me justify staff there 12 hours/day, every day.
I'm just picturing this place sitting empty most of the time. If it turns out that there are guests there most days, I'll certainly gear up to accommodate them, with a huge smile on my face!
 

Arks

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It's an interesting concept and lots to discuss, but my first red flag would be I just don't see how you can have the one employee manning the store and doing check-ins and handling questions and problems. If it's the only convenience store in the area, it could be quite popular with the residents and you'll have to close it up every time a guest needs something or checks in? Doesn't sound like a good idea to me..
I think the staffing is something I can adjust fairly quickly as I go. If I see I need more help, I'll get it. There are plenty of people around here looking for work!
I don't think the store will be doing any booming business. There was a convenience store downtown for years and it never had more than one employee there at a time. Most of the time that person was sitting on the front porch whittling. When the owner retired, he closed the store because nobody was interested in buying it.
But yes, I'll certainly get as much staff as I find the place requires.
.
Arkansawyer said:
I think the staffing is something I can adjust fairly quickly as I go. If I see I need more help, I'll get it. There are plenty of people around here looking for work!
I don't think the store will be doing any booming business. There was a convenience store downtown for years and it never had more than one employee there at a time. Most of the time that person was sitting on the front porch whittling. When the owner retired, he closed the store because nobody was interested in buying it.
But yes, I'll certainly get as much staff as I find the place requires.
I actually know a small inn that does this effectively. Sometimes, especially during the week, there's only 1 person staffing the desk which is also the cashier for the little store. On busy days, extra staffing is sometimes needed.
As long as you are ready to staff up when you need to, you might find a way to create an extra revenue stream and provide convenience for guests and townsfolk alike.
.
Innkeeper To Go said:
I actually know a small inn that does this effectively...you might find a way to create an extra revenue stream and provide convenience for guests and townsfolk alike.
You just made my day!
The idea for the store strictly came from the fact that my place will be too small to pay somebody to be there all day on the outside chance that someone might come in off the street and want a room. Having the store lets me justify staff there 12 hours/day, every day.
I'm just picturing this place sitting empty most of the time. If it turns out that there are guests there most days, I'll certainly gear up to accommodate them, with a huge smile on my face!
.
By the way, I've played with the Excel spreadsheet in this forum's resources section and am very encouraged by the % occupancy break even point!
Also, it was interesting to see the benefit of adding one more room to the place (if the occupancy rate stays the same).
The spreadsheet seems to show me that nobody is going to get rich running a B&B, but with a little luck and sufficient effort and planning, you're probably not going to go in the hole, either.
 

JBloggs

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I think it sounds very hip, esp if your convenience store can stock some gour-met items. There is a place this reminds me of up in Staunton VA. Let me find the link - prob not even close, but it rushed to mind when I scanned over your plans.
Is this town revitalized? Is it in an area that people would find attractive to stay?
You wrote: But if law allows, I plan to limit guests to people age 10 and up.
Hey ten and up are not people! People are those who pay the bills. LOL
Nothing wrong with going to a neat cafe for breakfast - licensing and insurance might require different though, you don't want this city/town to think of your place as transient lodging (although this is the term I have on my lodging tax form every month!). Is there a back up should said cafe go under? I ask as many are teetering on the edge currently if not under already.
Now for the hard question - are you doing this to help restore the building and liven up the downtown area? I ask as it seems you would end up with a better return on your money if you put it in a CD and it drew interest (since we know these places are money pits). Again, the biggest bennie of a B&B is writing off expenses etc, so you live on site. Don't answer, just asking aloud.
 

gillumhouse

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It's an interesting concept and lots to discuss, but my first red flag would be I just don't see how you can have the one employee manning the store and doing check-ins and handling questions and problems. If it's the only convenience store in the area, it could be quite popular with the residents and you'll have to close it up every time a guest needs something or checks in? Doesn't sound like a good idea to me..
I think the staffing is something I can adjust fairly quickly as I go. If I see I need more help, I'll get it. There are plenty of people around here looking for work!
I don't think the store will be doing any booming business. There was a convenience store downtown for years and it never had more than one employee there at a time. Most of the time that person was sitting on the front porch whittling. When the owner retired, he closed the store because nobody was interested in buying it.
But yes, I'll certainly get as much staff as I find the place requires.
.
Arkansawyer said:
I think the staffing is something I can adjust fairly quickly as I go. If I see I need more help, I'll get it. There are plenty of people around here looking for work!
I don't think the store will be doing any booming business. There was a convenience store downtown for years and it never had more than one employee there at a time. Most of the time that person was sitting on the front porch whittling. When the owner retired, he closed the store because nobody was interested in buying it.
But yes, I'll certainly get as much staff as I find the place requires.
I actually know a small inn that does this effectively. Sometimes, especially during the week, there's only 1 person staffing the desk which is also the cashier for the little store. On busy days, extra staffing is sometimes needed.
As long as you are ready to staff up when you need to, you might find a way to create an extra revenue stream and provide convenience for guests and townsfolk alike.
.
Innkeeper To Go said:
I actually know a small inn that does this effectively...you might find a way to create an extra revenue stream and provide convenience for guests and townsfolk alike.
You just made my day!
The idea for the store strictly came from the fact that my place will be too small to pay somebody to be there all day on the outside chance that someone might come in off the street and want a room. Having the store lets me justify staff there 12 hours/day, every day.
I'm just picturing this place sitting empty most of the time. If it turns out that there are guests there most days, I'll certainly gear up to accommodate them, with a huge smile on my face!
.
I did not mean staff for the guesthouse during the day. Your convenience store could take care of the check-outs. i was thinking more of a 3-11 shift for the guesthouse willing to be "on-call" for emergencies during the night and for checking in (bellhop, answer questions about the area, concierge-type stuff)
 

muirford

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It's an interesting concept and lots to discuss, but my first red flag would be I just don't see how you can have the one employee manning the store and doing check-ins and handling questions and problems. If it's the only convenience store in the area, it could be quite popular with the residents and you'll have to close it up every time a guest needs something or checks in? Doesn't sound like a good idea to me..
I think the staffing is something I can adjust fairly quickly as I go. If I see I need more help, I'll get it. There are plenty of people around here looking for work!
I don't think the store will be doing any booming business. There was a convenience store downtown for years and it never had more than one employee there at a time. Most of the time that person was sitting on the front porch whittling. When the owner retired, he closed the store because nobody was interested in buying it.
But yes, I'll certainly get as much staff as I find the place requires.
.
Arkansawyer said:
I think the staffing is something I can adjust fairly quickly as I go. If I see I need more help, I'll get it. There are plenty of people around here looking for work!
I don't think the store will be doing any booming business. There was a convenience store downtown for years and it never had more than one employee there at a time. Most of the time that person was sitting on the front porch whittling. When the owner retired, he closed the store because nobody was interested in buying it.
But yes, I'll certainly get as much staff as I find the place requires.
I actually know a small inn that does this effectively. Sometimes, especially during the week, there's only 1 person staffing the desk which is also the cashier for the little store. On busy days, extra staffing is sometimes needed.
As long as you are ready to staff up when you need to, you might find a way to create an extra revenue stream and provide convenience for guests and townsfolk alike.
.
Innkeeper To Go said:
I actually know a small inn that does this effectively...you might find a way to create an extra revenue stream and provide convenience for guests and townsfolk alike.
You just made my day!
The idea for the store strictly came from the fact that my place will be too small to pay somebody to be there all day on the outside chance that someone might come in off the street and want a room. Having the store lets me justify staff there 12 hours/day, every day.
I'm just picturing this place sitting empty most of the time. If it turns out that there are guests there most days, I'll certainly gear up to accommodate them, with a huge smile on my face!
.
Arkansawyer said:
The idea for the store strictly came from the fact that my place will be too small to pay somebody to be there all day on the outside chance that someone might come in off the street and want a room. Having the store lets me justify staff there 12 hours/day, every day.
If you've been reading the forum, I'm sure you don't mean to say that you will only find guests if they walk-in.
Hire the right person to run the store and check-in guests, and they can also take phone reservations, handle a simple online booking system, made minor changes to your website as needed, write blog entries to help market the place, and so on.
Are you thinking that most of your guests will be tourists, or will you also have business guests who maybe are tired of that chain hotel? Different things will attract different clientele. I don't think any of us would suggest that you expect all your arrivals to happen by 7:00, especially if you think your guests are more of the tourist variety. That span of time, from 7 to 7, is the main reason I think you are going to need two people - starting at 7 if you have business guests will be too late, and leaving at 7 if you have tourists or business guests will be too early.
 

Arks

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I think it sounds very hip, esp if your convenience store can stock some gour-met items. There is a place this reminds me of up in Staunton VA. Let me find the link - prob not even close, but it rushed to mind when I scanned over your plans.
Is this town revitalized? Is it in an area that people would find attractive to stay?
You wrote: But if law allows, I plan to limit guests to people age 10 and up.
Hey ten and up are not people! People are those who pay the bills. LOL
Nothing wrong with going to a neat cafe for breakfast - licensing and insurance might require different though, you don't want this city/town to think of your place as transient lodging (although this is the term I have on my lodging tax form every month!). Is there a back up should said cafe go under? I ask as many are teetering on the edge currently if not under already.
Now for the hard question - are you doing this to help restore the building and liven up the downtown area? I ask as it seems you would end up with a better return on your money if you put it in a CD and it drew interest (since we know these places are money pits). Again, the biggest bennie of a B&B is writing off expenses etc, so you live on site. Don't answer, just asking aloud..
Joey Bloggs said:
Is this town revitalized? Is it in an area that people would find attractive to stay?
We're getting there. Yes, "city folk" who visit our downtown love it, and we've only just started to restore some of the old buildings to original appearance.
Joey Bloggs said:
Nothing wrong with going to a neat cafe for breakfast - licensing and insurance might require different though, you don't want this city/town to think of your place as transient lodging (although this is the term I have on my lodging tax form every month!).
City Hall is hugely behind our downtown rejuvenation. In fact, the mayor is buying another old building with plans to restore it. I don't think the city will be anything but delighted with what I'm planning.
Joey Bloggs said:
Is there a back up should said cafe go under? I ask as many are teetering on the edge currently if not under already.
We've certainly talked about that. Yes, restaurants never last long. The backup plan is that my place WILL have a full kitchen and we can handle preparing meals until another arrangement can be found. I've also stayed in many B&B's in Europe where the breakfast was just a basket of stuff they gave you the night before: cereal (the milk is in the fridge), fruit, cheese, sweet rolls, etc. so while it's certainly not desirable I could switch to continental breakfast temporarily while a cook is located.
Joey Bloggs said:
Now for the hard question - are you doing this to help restore the building and liven up the downtown area? I ask as it seems you would end up with a better return on your money if you put it in a CD and it drew interest (since we know these places are money pits). Again, the biggest bennie of a B&B is writing off expenses etc, so you live on site. Don't answer, just asking aloud.
Nothing hard about that question. Restoring the building and helping to liven up downtown is 80% of what got me into this. Then my mind started going on it and I'm now mainly doing it because I think it will be fun to plan and build. I realize the work of running it will be another story, and that might get old fast. That's why I'm planning to do most of it with paid staff. Since I don't need an income from it, all the profit can go back into maintaining and running it.
 

gillumhouse

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I think it sounds very hip, esp if your convenience store can stock some gour-met items. There is a place this reminds me of up in Staunton VA. Let me find the link - prob not even close, but it rushed to mind when I scanned over your plans.
Is this town revitalized? Is it in an area that people would find attractive to stay?
You wrote: But if law allows, I plan to limit guests to people age 10 and up.
Hey ten and up are not people! People are those who pay the bills. LOL
Nothing wrong with going to a neat cafe for breakfast - licensing and insurance might require different though, you don't want this city/town to think of your place as transient lodging (although this is the term I have on my lodging tax form every month!). Is there a back up should said cafe go under? I ask as many are teetering on the edge currently if not under already.
Now for the hard question - are you doing this to help restore the building and liven up the downtown area? I ask as it seems you would end up with a better return on your money if you put it in a CD and it drew interest (since we know these places are money pits). Again, the biggest bennie of a B&B is writing off expenses etc, so you live on site. Don't answer, just asking aloud..
Joey Bloggs said:
Is this town revitalized? Is it in an area that people would find attractive to stay?
We're getting there. Yes, "city folk" who visit our downtown love it, and we've only just started to restore some of the old buildings to original appearance.
Joey Bloggs said:
Nothing wrong with going to a neat cafe for breakfast - licensing and insurance might require different though, you don't want this city/town to think of your place as transient lodging (although this is the term I have on my lodging tax form every month!).
City Hall is hugely behind our downtown rejuvenation. In fact, the mayor is buying another old building with plans to restore it. I don't think the city will be anything but delighted with what I'm planning.
Joey Bloggs said:
Is there a back up should said cafe go under? I ask as many are teetering on the edge currently if not under already.
We've certainly talked about that. Yes, restaurants never last long. The backup plan is that my place WILL have a full kitchen and we can handle preparing meals until another arrangement can be found. I've also stayed in many B&B's in Europe where the breakfast was just a basket of stuff they gave you the night before: cereal (the milk is in the fridge), fruit, cheese, sweet rolls, etc. so while it's certainly not desirable I could switch to continental breakfast temporarily while a cook is located.
Joey Bloggs said:
Now for the hard question - are you doing this to help restore the building and liven up the downtown area? I ask as it seems you would end up with a better return on your money if you put it in a CD and it drew interest (since we know these places are money pits). Again, the biggest bennie of a B&B is writing off expenses etc, so you live on site. Don't answer, just asking aloud.
Nothing hard about that question. Restoring the building and helping to liven up downtown is 80% of what got me into this. Then my mind started going on it and I'm now mainly doing it because I think it will be fun to plan and build. I realize the work of running it will be another story, and that might get old fast. That's why I'm planning to do most of it with paid staff. Since I don't need an income from it, all the profit can go back into maintaining and running it.
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Restoring the building and helping to liven up downtown is 80% of what got me into this. Then my mind started going on it and I'm now mainly doing it because I think it will be fun to plan and build. I realize the work of running it will be another story, and that might get old fast. That's why I'm planning to do most of it with paid staff. Since I don't need an income from it, all the profit can go back into maintaining and running it.
I totally understand this. Most people in my City think I am nuts because I have been pushing for another B & B almost since I opened mine. When I put my B & B on the market, it is going to be so I can sell it as a B & B NOT as a residence (feet first I cannot control that aspect). My city now recognizes the importance of just 3 rooms here. I hope you can succeed.
Are you a native or an import? My in-laws were in Hot Springs & Eureka Springs and my aunt was in Bentonville.
 

JBloggs

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There was someone on this forum I believe, can't recall now, that used to get fresh pastries every morning for their guests at a local bakery. It was a very classy continental they had and the guests helped themselves, many people like that, sleep in and open the fridge for a fruit platter and nice pastry.
You know, there is no way in the world I could or would ever make a croissant, so to have say an almond croissant waiting for me there in the fridge would be my cup of tea.
 

Arks

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It's an interesting concept and lots to discuss, but my first red flag would be I just don't see how you can have the one employee manning the store and doing check-ins and handling questions and problems. If it's the only convenience store in the area, it could be quite popular with the residents and you'll have to close it up every time a guest needs something or checks in? Doesn't sound like a good idea to me..
I think the staffing is something I can adjust fairly quickly as I go. If I see I need more help, I'll get it. There are plenty of people around here looking for work!
I don't think the store will be doing any booming business. There was a convenience store downtown for years and it never had more than one employee there at a time. Most of the time that person was sitting on the front porch whittling. When the owner retired, he closed the store because nobody was interested in buying it.
But yes, I'll certainly get as much staff as I find the place requires.
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Arkansawyer said:
I think the staffing is something I can adjust fairly quickly as I go. If I see I need more help, I'll get it. There are plenty of people around here looking for work!
I don't think the store will be doing any booming business. There was a convenience store downtown for years and it never had more than one employee there at a time. Most of the time that person was sitting on the front porch whittling. When the owner retired, he closed the store because nobody was interested in buying it.
But yes, I'll certainly get as much staff as I find the place requires.
I actually know a small inn that does this effectively. Sometimes, especially during the week, there's only 1 person staffing the desk which is also the cashier for the little store. On busy days, extra staffing is sometimes needed.
As long as you are ready to staff up when you need to, you might find a way to create an extra revenue stream and provide convenience for guests and townsfolk alike.
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Innkeeper To Go said:
I actually know a small inn that does this effectively...you might find a way to create an extra revenue stream and provide convenience for guests and townsfolk alike.
You just made my day!
The idea for the store strictly came from the fact that my place will be too small to pay somebody to be there all day on the outside chance that someone might come in off the street and want a room. Having the store lets me justify staff there 12 hours/day, every day.
I'm just picturing this place sitting empty most of the time. If it turns out that there are guests there most days, I'll certainly gear up to accommodate them, with a huge smile on my face!
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Arkansawyer said:
The idea for the store strictly came from the fact that my place will be too small to pay somebody to be there all day on the outside chance that someone might come in off the street and want a room. Having the store lets me justify staff there 12 hours/day, every day.
If you've been reading the forum, I'm sure you don't mean to say that you will only find guests if they walk-in.
Hire the right person to run the store and check-in guests, and they can also take phone reservations, handle a simple online booking system, made minor changes to your website as needed, write blog entries to help market the place, and so on.
Are you thinking that most of your guests will be tourists, or will you also have business guests who maybe are tired of that chain hotel? Different things will attract different clientele. I don't think any of us would suggest that you expect all your arrivals to happen by 7:00, especially if you think your guests are more of the tourist variety. That span of time, from 7 to 7, is the main reason I think you are going to need two people - starting at 7 if you have business guests will be too late, and leaving at 7 if you have tourists or business guests will be too early.
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Many good points. I expect very few walk-in guests. Most will book online, I assume, or by phone, and we could check them in by appointment, or they could call when they arrive or something. But in order to have the walk-ins too, somebody needs to be there all day (which of course is for the best anyway).
I kind of picked 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. staffing out of the air. Yes, if the promotion causes it to take off, making it a "7-11" might be best. I don't see a lot of reason to have someone there before 7:00 a.m. since we really don't need to check people out, do we? Breakfast is handled by the cafe down the block. I'm used to hotels where I just leave my keycard on the bed and leave. They already have my credit card swiped.
Yes, I was thinking the guests will be both tourists and some business travelers who are either tired of the chain hotel, or have the company paying for it so they can stay at a more expensive place.
I don't expect many locals to put visiting relatives in my place. They would mostly go to the hotel where it's cheaper.
I'm actually picturing my place as a tourist destination in itself, a vacation from the busy city. Then it's up to us to find them local things to occupy their time. We don't have a single antique store in town. I think we need one of those. We do have a couple of little art shops (paintings, pottery, jewelry) and lots of historical things to show people and sports stuff for the men.
This is kind of the opposite of "build it and they will come". This is, they are coming, now somebody get busy and build some stuff here for them to do! We've had some nice gift shops and antique stores here in the past but they all closed for lack of business. Now we're actively promoting tourism and there may be enough business to support some nice specialty shops.
 

JBloggs

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Welcome to OUR WORLD, aka the choir. We, who make things to do out of thin air. (We meaning collectively, MOST of this forum.)
"This is kind of the opposite of "build it and they will come". This is, they are coming, now somebody get busy and build some stuff here for them to do! We've had some nice gift shops and antique stores here in the past but they all closed for lack of business. Now we're actively promoting tourism and there may be enough business to support some nice specialty shops."
 

Arks

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I think it sounds very hip, esp if your convenience store can stock some gour-met items. There is a place this reminds me of up in Staunton VA. Let me find the link - prob not even close, but it rushed to mind when I scanned over your plans.
Is this town revitalized? Is it in an area that people would find attractive to stay?
You wrote: But if law allows, I plan to limit guests to people age 10 and up.
Hey ten and up are not people! People are those who pay the bills. LOL
Nothing wrong with going to a neat cafe for breakfast - licensing and insurance might require different though, you don't want this city/town to think of your place as transient lodging (although this is the term I have on my lodging tax form every month!). Is there a back up should said cafe go under? I ask as many are teetering on the edge currently if not under already.
Now for the hard question - are you doing this to help restore the building and liven up the downtown area? I ask as it seems you would end up with a better return on your money if you put it in a CD and it drew interest (since we know these places are money pits). Again, the biggest bennie of a B&B is writing off expenses etc, so you live on site. Don't answer, just asking aloud..
Joey Bloggs said:
Is this town revitalized? Is it in an area that people would find attractive to stay?
We're getting there. Yes, "city folk" who visit our downtown love it, and we've only just started to restore some of the old buildings to original appearance.
Joey Bloggs said:
Nothing wrong with going to a neat cafe for breakfast - licensing and insurance might require different though, you don't want this city/town to think of your place as transient lodging (although this is the term I have on my lodging tax form every month!).
City Hall is hugely behind our downtown rejuvenation. In fact, the mayor is buying another old building with plans to restore it. I don't think the city will be anything but delighted with what I'm planning.
Joey Bloggs said:
Is there a back up should said cafe go under? I ask as many are teetering on the edge currently if not under already.
We've certainly talked about that. Yes, restaurants never last long. The backup plan is that my place WILL have a full kitchen and we can handle preparing meals until another arrangement can be found. I've also stayed in many B&B's in Europe where the breakfast was just a basket of stuff they gave you the night before: cereal (the milk is in the fridge), fruit, cheese, sweet rolls, etc. so while it's certainly not desirable I could switch to continental breakfast temporarily while a cook is located.
Joey Bloggs said:
Now for the hard question - are you doing this to help restore the building and liven up the downtown area? I ask as it seems you would end up with a better return on your money if you put it in a CD and it drew interest (since we know these places are money pits). Again, the biggest bennie of a B&B is writing off expenses etc, so you live on site. Don't answer, just asking aloud.
Nothing hard about that question. Restoring the building and helping to liven up downtown is 80% of what got me into this. Then my mind started going on it and I'm now mainly doing it because I think it will be fun to plan and build. I realize the work of running it will be another story, and that might get old fast. That's why I'm planning to do most of it with paid staff. Since I don't need an income from it, all the profit can go back into maintaining and running it.
.
Restoring the building and helping to liven up downtown is 80% of what got me into this. Then my mind started going on it and I'm now mainly doing it because I think it will be fun to plan and build. I realize the work of running it will be another story, and that might get old fast. That's why I'm planning to do most of it with paid staff. Since I don't need an income from it, all the profit can go back into maintaining and running it.
I totally understand this. Most people in my City think I am nuts because I have been pushing for another B & B almost since I opened mine. When I put my B & B on the market, it is going to be so I can sell it as a B & B NOT as a residence (feet first I cannot control that aspect). My city now recognizes the importance of just 3 rooms here. I hope you can succeed.
Are you a native or an import? My in-laws were in Hot Springs & Eureka Springs and my aunt was in Bentonville.
.
gillumhouse said:
Are you a native or an import? My in-laws were in Hot Springs & Eureka Springs and my aunt was in Bentonville.
Native. I don't think an import would blow this much money just to help the town!
Eureka Springs is full of many wonderful B&Bs. That's where I'm going for the 3-day seminar on B&B management. Eureka is sort of the gold standard for successful tourism development in Arkansas. We're several hours from there. If we can reproduce a fraction of what they have accomplished, we should do well.
 
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