Rural System, Inc.
 Sustained rural lands; sustained profits

The Dogwood Inns
Dispersed Lodging

The Dogwood Inns tactic has been developed following noting the great difficulties and costs of trying to attract major lodging firms with extensive facilities for tourists, meeting rooms, and parking lots or to develop a diverse, dispersed lodging resource. There must be abundant tourists to support abundant lodging facilities. To have abundant tourist income, there must be abundant, high quality tourist accommodations in the US. At least initially, the option of dispersed facilities seems preferable. It tends to overcome many of the undesirable aspects of unmanaged tourism. Perhaps specialized facilities may be developed.

There are specialized needs for housing for tourists and others in the region. Rural System, Inc. can hope for and depend upon others to provide these facilities some day or it can utilize its resources and capitalize on the advantages of unifying such an operation within its framework of providing for the advantages and opportunities within the region. The needs for its operations can at first best be met by dispersed inns of different quality and services throughout the region. Some of the existing economic problems within the region result from sales areas having been centralized (the malls) and from requiring potential customers to move to them for service at high costs and loss of time.

The Dogwood Inns component of the strategy is like that found elsewhere within this business plan. Coordinated, centralized work can provide for dispersed, diversified economies. Risks can be dispersed and kept small. Owners and their families can live in their places; places can be maintained and
a single "motel" that is widely dispersed throughout the county
renovated, and the inns can enhance the beauty and quality of living spaces within the county. Inns can reduce the travel time and costs to sites of interest. Of course, there have to be year around activities (outlined for the other enterprises) to stabilize customers, those who "fill the beds." Of course new inns may be built, justified by the appearance of visitors.

We propose to offer advertising and marketing, Internet connections and services, and increase occupancy rates in healthful, comfortable, low cost facilities for visitors to the county and the services and resources of Rural System, Inc. We can relate well to local restaurants as well as provide unique dining opportunities.

We have a plan, an unusual concept of managing "a single motel that is widely dispersed throughout the county" of 50 units, 1 to 3 rooms in each, or 100 beds, then dispersed over the entire region. The units are not in the same place but linked by central booking, serviced by central crews, repaired, renovated, provided insurance, provided signage and facilities and equipment from a common pool, inspected regularly and assured of meeting high health and corporate standards all to give the owners of fine homes (old or new) within the region an opportunity to join and become one of the Dogwood Inns.

The inns provide new income potentials for an aging population. There are almost no proposed capital investment costs incurred by the county or town governments. The type services planned will not be competitive with major hotels but may augment and assist in their marketing. The inns provide a new vitality to the real estate tax base. Linkages will be made with local establishments to provide bakery, food, and beverage services. A variety of service activities is likely to develop. Crafts and related sales seem a likely associate of such facilities Centralized laundry services will reduce stresses on rural water and sewage systems.

Special programs of the Dogwood Inns will be developed for people to "get away" for extended periods, writing, reflecting, and recuperating from illnesses. A cooperative work-study and educational program will be arranged with students and faculty of hotel management at Virginia Tech and other programs.These spaces will be available for local functions of all types and so advertised, but their main year-around customer base will be the customers and clients of the increasingly active Rural System, Inc.

This is a growth enterprise. In effect, we may recruit 10 owners to join and begin providing services. Existing inns may choose to become affiliated or take a leadership role. The "bottom line" is very clear: our success will be in developing year-around activities in Rural System, Inc. which will be needed to "fill beds." Having space is essential for ranging success and it as part of Rural System success. This is a chicken-or-egg problem but one that can be solved within the first year with charter-member incentives, dispersed marketing, and minimum risk-taking on all sides. There are likely to no gains in the first two years. A meeting place for short courses, training programs, and business meetings will be needed. It seems likely that such space, perhaps with renovations, can be rented from one or more of the churches of the county as part of a "stewardship of God's creation" premise. After that, 50% occupancy of 100 units for 200 days at a mere $40 per day (grossly half of the estimated, inviting, per-day cost) produces an income for Rural System of $400,000. Variations in units available, occupancy days, pricing, percentage of corporate income all together produce a wide range of possible financial outcomes.

Development costs are for a 3-person staff and vehicle, and miscellaneous contract costs ($420,000)

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about some of the topic(s) above at

Maybe we can work together
... for the good of us all
... for a long time.

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The Big Cat Lodge

Set in a carefully designed landscape, on a ride in the famous Cumberland Mountains of Appalachia, The Big Cat Lodge provides excellent accommodations and abundant home-cooked foods. Appetites match the vigorous professionally-guided walks through the hills. The advantages and opportunities:

You'll be in the hands of professional.

Visit and come to a deep understanding of this important part of America.

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