Creating a Jewel on Main Street

Kara, Gene, and Becky Wilhoit

Now one of the jewels on Main Street, the Trail Suites building, which also houses Bluegrass Sabor and Bourbon Barrel Boutique, was a labor of love and passion for Gene and Becky Wilhoit along with their daughter Kara.  The building, which was the old Klink’s Pharmacy just a few short years ago, has seen an amazing transformation.

Seeing how downtown was deteriorating so badly, Gene wanted to do something to change what was becoming a blighted area.  When Klink’s Pharmacy closed, Gene and Becky started eyeing the building, thinking they could turn it into a great restaurant and hotel.

With no sit down restaurant on Main Street, Gene felt that by bringing one to the area would help the revitalization process. “One of the things we thought about downtown, you need, as a core of a downtown, a restaurant, where people can come in, sit down, and have a meal,” Gene said.

Gene thought the Klink Pharmacy building had potential, with great architectural features.  But it was far from a usable state.  There were roof leaks, birds nests, and holes to the outside in various places.  But he felt that he could take on the challenge. “My dad was a contractor. So when I was young, he taught me a lot of things,” he said.

So the Wilhoits took the plunge and by the winter of 2012, they started demolition.  With the second floor divided into many rooms to be either a boarding room or offices, they had a lot of work to do.  Walls, layers of flooring, and much more had to go, but they enjoyed the work.  “That was the most fun,” Becky said.

But they weren’t fast to throw away the charm that was buried under layers of paint.  They saved the original woodwork and doors from the upstairs, brought them to their garage, stripped all the paint, and reinstalled it all as part of the renovation. Becky also hunted for architectural salvage and antiques to match the time period of the building, preserving as much as possible of what the building would be like when it was built around the turn of the twentieth century.

With a design in hand, the upstairs began to turn into what would become the Trail Suites.  Three custom suites with private bathrooms were set.  The suites would feature their own kitchenettes and living spaces, giving guests of Lawrenceburg features that would otherwise be reserved for larger hotels in larger cities.

Once the main construction was done, Becky began working on the interior design.  With lots of graph paper, she made sure all the furnishings fit and had a great comfortable feel.  Together, the Wilhoits created a gorgeous small hotel, centered right in the middle of downtown Lawrenceburg.

The three suites feature either a king or queen sized bed, multiple televisions, first class bathrooms, and fully furnished kitchens.  There is also free wifi and an elevator lift.  For more information about Trail Suites, check out their website.

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Posted in Business & Government, Family & Community.

One Comment

  1. I was reading your story about your new venture. I would like to talk with you about your elevator. The Lawrenceburg Fire Department want s to keep all citizens and cisitors to out city safe. What i leaen about your elevators will be made into a training program about elevators that are in the city limits. I may be reached at 502-680-1074 Thank you

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