A town inn celebrates its tenth anniversary.

A business can become a staple in the inner city of a city for a multitude of reasons. Perhaps his long existence created a narrative that keeps him on the radar of locals. On the other hand, a famous (or infamous) story can long be told over and over again until the story is bigger than any other tale. And maybe, just maybe, the reason a successful business is because of what it tries to be and then becomes exactly that.

This is the story of The Inn on Whitworth in Brookhaven.

John Lynch and Jeff Doremus took an interest in the building at 210 S. Whitworth Ave. which had housed Pat Hennington’s Progressive Men clothing store for, well, “forever.” They bought the building with the intention of someday turning it into a hostel.

Why an inn? It’s pretty simple: Lynch and his wife loved to travel, looking for interesting places to stay. A trip brought them to a charming inn in Ripley, Mississippi. John was so charmed that he thought he would like to do the same thing someday – own an inn.

But before that happened, renovations were needed. Lynch had bought a building before he remodeled into his office, then sold it when some people saw the place and wanted it for themselves. So Lynch knew he could renovate again – he seemed to have a knack for it.

The renovations began in April 2011 and lasted eight months, the hostel’s website says. “With Mathis Construction as general contractor, local physician and artist Kim Sessums as design consultant and a group of five local businessmen as investors, a vision for The Inn on Whitworth was created. and materialized. “

The Central Baptist Church moved into the rental space during construction of its new church near KDMC. All the while, Lynch and her partners have worked together to bring the place up to par. Sessums designed the interior of the inn, now called the Inn on Whitworth, and another artist, Ed Williford, is also exhibiting his work there.

The hostel opened in 2011. Although it started with five owners, Dr Shannon Patterson is Lynch’s only current partner in the business, which consists of two floors, one with regular rooms and upstairs bedrooms furnished as small apartments. These upstairs rooms are now primarily used for extended stay guests, although all are rentable for one night when available.

Innkeeper Sallie Williford, Ed’s sister and Lynch’s sister-in-law, says the hotel has organically transformed into an entity, rather than a hostel and apartment business. There are 14 units and they recently added a conference room after so many requests from former clients who wanted to be able to use a space to host their own events.

But why is the hostel still so strong after 10 years – and located in the heart of a city center, away from a highway? Williford said it all depends on how you feel when you choose to stay there.

“It really is a great place to sleep,” she said with a laugh before getting more serious. “[At a chain hotel], you miss the local flavor of a place; it does not reflect the city in which it is located. Whitworth Inn does. It’s on a smaller scale, pleasant and user-friendly. Our motto is “Where art and architecture meet southern hospitality”.

And Williford thinks that’s part of the hostel’s charm.

“The building was built in 1895,” she said. “It has the history and dignity of old buildings. It has the original heart pine hardwood floors and paneled ceilings. It may be old, but it continues.

Williford said the hostel has been welcoming people from all over the world for a night or more – China, Japan, Germany, Australia and beyond. Whether for pleasure or business, his guests enter a treasure house located in a small American town, of which Williford is proud.

“The hostel is only part of Brookhaven, and we want to represent Brookhaven,” she said of the hostel, with its beautiful lobby flooded with natural light and an original 19th century skylight. century culminating 30 feet above.

“We want [visitors] be impressed by [the inn and with the town]. Our hostel brings them downtown for that local flavor, for the bustling little town with local businesses doing good.

“People find it attractive. The people of Brookhaven come back and take pride in the quality of this town. “

In fact, some people feel so safe at the hostel, which has 18 inch fire walls, whenever bad weather arrives, especially in tornado weather, they check in.

“They feel safer here,” Williford said with a smile in the voice of the local family. “And we welcome them. “

And who can blame them? This building has been around for over a decade. Maybe the hostel will be too.


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