Boutique hotel reopens in Genoa
July 30, 2010
GENOA – For operators of the newly remodeled and renamed Genoa Country Inn, a handful of hotel rooms in Nevada’s first settlement could mean the difference between a day trip and an overnight destination in the minds of tourists.
“Our big plan is to help every other business owner in Genoa do better,” said Gardnerville resident and hotel manager Nick Agosta. “I know so many people who never knew there was a hotel here, so our goal is to let people know there is a place to stay.”
Now, new, bold-lettered signs along Main Street and the building’s roofline let motorists and strollers alike know there is overnight lodging on the second story of Genoa Square, which, despite its old-fashioned countenance, was built in 2002.
“Since we opened with the new signage, we’ve shown the hotel to a multitude of people,” Agosta said. “Maybe they won’t stay this summer, but maybe they’ll make reservations next summer when they come back through.”
Nick and brother Aaron, 58 and 55 respectively, share a lifetime of experience in construction and real estate. However, the down economy eventually led them into another field: managing the hotel that their mother, Bettie Kanelos, originally opened as Legend Country Inn.
“What are two 50-year-olds going to do?” Nick Agosta said. “We’re not going to start over again.”
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Agosta said his mother, who still owns Genoa Square, closed Legend Country Inn in 2007 and rented out the hotel rooms as offices. With some remodeling and re-marketing, though, the brothers decided to give the hotel another try.
“We’re just now starting to be relevant on the Internet,” Agosta said of their new website.
The business model is simple: plant a seed in the minds of residents and tourists that a charming lodging opportunity exists in quaint downtown Genoa, and then rely on positive reference, word-of-mouth, and the power of reputation. Or, in other words, build a niche in boutique lodging and let the remodeled 11 rooms with granite countertop bars, flat-screen TVs and balcony views speak for themselves.
“I don’t think we will ever be the type of hotel along Highway 395 where there’s a vacancy sign and people just pull up,” Agosta said.
Instead, he said, the Genoa Country Inn must focus on what Genoa is and what it is becoming, such as a world-class wedding destination.
“If their immediate family books the whole place, then we give the bride and groom our suite for free,” Agosta said.
He said that while he and his brother are doing everything themselves, including the laundry and cleaning, they hope to add employees in the future as the operation reaches the point of “constant room turnover.”
One of the hotel’s biggest selling points is the presence of five commercial tenants directly beneath the rooms, including Genoa Candy & Coffee Co., Dancing Deer gift shop and Main Street Salon.
“My mom is a pretty sharp business woman, and she dropped everyone’s rent, so everyone is surviving in a bad market,” Agosta said. “We feel blessed that the place is full.”
Agosta said reopening the hotel will help the tenants and vice versa.
“The more people we bring in, the more people walk into Dancing Deer and Genoa Coffee & Candy Co.,” Agosta said. “The more it helps the tenants.”
He said the future of the enterprise lies in working together with Genoa businesses, with local restaurants and golf courses, creating packager deals and helping each other promote the area.
“It’s a great getaway from the Bay Area, even from Reno,” Agosta said. “We really want to make Genoa a destination, not just a day trip.”
Genoa Country Inn is located at 2292 Main Street. For more information, call (775) 782-4500 or visit http://www.genoacountryinn.com.