ELKINS, W.Va. — The Isaac Jackson Hotel and Davis Trust Co. made history Thursday as the U.S. Small Business Administration presented a record $5 million check to the soon-to-be-finished hotel and conference center.
SBA mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Natalia Olson-Urtecho and West Virginia Director Judy McCauley were on hand for the historic presentation, along with Michael R. Price, Hugh Hitchcock and Hoy Ferguson from Davis Trust Co. The $5 million 7(a) guaranteed loan is not only the largest in the history of the West Virginia District Office of the SBA, but also the largest loan ever closed by Davis Trust in its 113 years in business.
“We are very pleased to work with the SBA to make financing for this project possible,” said Price, Davis Trust Co.’s president and CEO. “The partners of the Isaac Jackson “Working with the SBA has allowed Davis Trust Company to expand our lending capacity as evidenced by this project,” said Ferguson. “It has been exciting working with the SBA and the partners of the Isaac Jackson Hotel on this endeavor. Their long-term investment in our community supports our tourism industry and provides local jobs.”
The Randolph County landmark – formerly the Elkins Motor Lodge and 1863 Tavern and Grill – has gone through a multitude of changes in the past year. Kenny and Beverly Sexton, Jim and Elaine Douglas and Lloyd and Sharon Teter took official ownership of the facility in May 2013, and almost immediately put a plan in place to make the property a resort destination.
The first phase of the group’s plan was to renovate and refurnish the 23-room, two-story portion of the hotel, located on the upper hillside of the property.
With that plan executed, construction of a new three-story hotel building got underway. The addition houses 38 rooms, a modern lobby complete with a double-sided fireplace, a business center and four suites complete with patios so guests can enjoy a breathtaking view of downtown Elkins and the surrounding mountains.
The restaurant also saw extensive renovations, reopening in June with a new and updated motif and a menu showcasing Kansas City-style barbecue.
“It all started with my wife and I having coffee,” said Sexton, president of the Issac Jackson Hotel, 1863 Grill and American Mountain Theater. “I knew this old property was available. … We really didn’t want to do it, but one morning we caught the vision and said let’s restore the thing and make a new building.”
“So, then we found some like-minded partners and with Jim and Elaine Douglas and Lloyd and Sharon Teter, and the rest – as they say – is history,” Sexton added. “We embarked on the remodel of the existing 23 rooms and then on the first of January the restaurant, the 1863 Grill. In the midst of all that – I’m also a certified public accountant by trade in my other life – and so I started on this SBA loan process with the good folks at Davis Trust. It was a many month process. … It wasn’t easy, but we finally got it done.”
The economic impact of the project is expected to be considerable, and not just during tourism season. Sexton stresses the new facility will have year-round use because of the added conference center.
“We already have multiple, multiple leads that will bring business here, and not just during the summertime, but in the winter when folks have CPA seminars, training seminars, all sorts of stuff,” Sexton said. “So, having the ability to house these people, and we’ll fill up the other hotels when we have a convention, we know it’s going to bring a lot of business to Randolph County and Elkins. I expect that even with this addition that we’ll be out of rooms again soon. That will be another good problem to have.”
SBA officials noted the beauty of the Mountain State and the prime location for the hotel and conference center. They also stressed the whole process has been a team effort from start to finish.
“It’s an exciting time,” Olson-Urtecho said. “I love West Virginia, because there is so much to see and do here. Working together makes this efficient. It’s not about politics … it’s about working together. This country won’t move forward unless we help our small business owners.”
Elkins Mayor Van Broughton was on hand to congratulate Sexton and his team for not only being approved for the record-breaking SBA loan, but for what the overall project means for Elkins.
“Kenny and Beverly, Sharon Teter and Jim and Elaine Douglas – thank you for working together on this,” Broughton said. “Kenny’s American Mountain Theater already is one of the best things Elkins has going for it, and I know that the Isaac Jackson Hotel is going to help him – and Elkins – do even bigger and better things. It is good to know there are so many people working so hard to do good things for Elkins.”
The entire project is scheduled to be finished in time for the 78th Mountain State Forest Festival.