KnoxNews.com recently covered another hostel success story about Al Wishart Jr., who rennovated an abandoned house to start a hostel:
Wishart hosts about three guests a night. He has beds for 10. The peach-colored women's sleeping area has two bunk beds, a dresser and an ironing board. The men's guest room has three bunk beds. Light flows through large windows in the bedrooms, sitting area and kitchen. One bathroom has a claw-foot tub, the other a shower. Vintage pennants and maps decorate walls. As a hospitable gesture, Wishart displays the state or country flag of each guest. The miniature flags of Turkey and Malaysia cluster around the sign-in sheet.
Wishart jumped into the hosteling business in 2000 after a career as charter manager at Greyhound Bus Lines. He purchased the abandoned house just around the corner of his home. "It was a kudzu topiary. Every inch, including the chimney, was covered by kudzu. It was just a large, green blob," he recalls. "I spent way too much money restoring it."
He worked with building contractor John Wampler to refurbish the cottage, paying close attention to preserving architectural details such as carved fireplaces. The East Tennessee vernacular-style house, now painted a chocolate brown with light aqua trim, features a tin roof and small front porch. It meets ADA standards and has central heat and air conditioning.