PHOTO SUBMITTED / Brenda Henderson (front second from left) presents the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Month Award to Johnny Lynch for The Inn on Whitworth. Looking on are other chamber officials and inn representatives and staff.
PHOTO SUBMITTED / Brenda Henderson (front second from left) presents the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Month Award to Johnny Lynch for The Inn on Whitworth. Looking on are other chamber officials and inn representatives and staff.

Inn is named Small Business of Month

Published 8:00am Sunday, April 6, 2014

An old mercantile now converted into the downtown hotel known as The Inn on Whitworth was chosen as the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Month for April.

Chamber Ambassadors presented the business with a plaque in a ceremony in the lobby of The Inn at 210 South Whitworth St. Wednesday.

The Inn on Whitworth has been in business for more than two years now, said innkeeper Sallie Williford.

The inn has five part-time housekeepers that make the place shine, said Williford. She is the only fulltime employee, and she said that business downtown has grown.

“We’ve been gradually phasing out the monthly apartment rentals,” she said. “We’ve been phasing that part of the business out for a year now, and this is the first month where all 14 spaces will be available.”

She said the need for extended stay spaces is what brought owner Johnny Lynch to the decision to turn them into hotel spaces.

“Summer is our busiest time,” she said, “and on into the fall when reunions happen and when the Ole Brook Festival is in town, we sell out for that. We stay booked during good weather – when people are traveling.

“So, now 14 units are available. We found there was a need for extended stay units. We have business people who may only need to stay a week two weeks or even a month and the upstairs units are perfect for them because they are self contained and each have their own kitchen.”

Williford said she is impressed with Lynch’s business savvy and his desire to bring more businesses downtown.

“Johnny is very interested in business that will do well in Brookhaven,” she said, “and so we really appreciate so many local families that tell loved ones that when they come visit to stay with us. And, they tell us that they really get a nostalgic feel when they stay with us.

“That’s because we are right downtown with everything going on,” she said. “People love that we are right next to Janie’s [Pastry Shop & Bakery].”

At the ceremony owner Lynch said, “Success comes not just from the hard work of the owners and staff, but the loyalty of our guests who have written stellar reviews across social media, recommended us to their friends, family and co-workers and come back to stay with us time and again.

“We feel blessed beyond measure. Not only for the honor we have received today, but also for all those who have helped to make the Inn on Whitworth the best place to stay in Brookhaven.”

Lynch said he and Williford are grateful for the award this month and that he knows how hard small business owners work.

“We appreciate the award,” he said. “I do appreciate small businesses and how hard it is to make one profitable. We are encouraged about downtown, too. We get wonderful comments about downtown and how much people love staying here. And, you know, one positive business doing well downtown will bring another positive business downtown that does well.”

Innkeeper Williford said she loves to give tours of The Inn.

“We love showing off The Inn,” she said. “We love for people who’ve never seen The Inn who are interested to drop by and see us.”

Visit online at www.innonwhitworth.com, or email Williford at stay@innonwhitworth.com to learn about availabilities. The Inn’s office hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and they can be reached at 601-990-5097.