Station Inn Bed and Breakfast, Leah and Alex Lang
Leah and Alex Lang have long enjoyed their stays at the Station Inn B&B located in Cresson, PA. The Inn dates back approximately thirty years when Tom Davis had a great idea: a simple, trackside bed and breakfast for railfans to gather among friends to relax and sit on the large front porch to watch the trains roll by. During one visit they spawned the idea that owning the Inn would allow them to continue the legacy that Tom Davis began as he grew on in years and showed a diminishing ability to operate the popular B&B. Shortly after initiating discussions with Tom, he passed away and they were left to participate in purchasing the Inn through Tom’s brother in a bidding process.
The couple approached SCORE seeking help in preparing a business plan acceptable to a lender as well as the inherited owner. Now that they have become the proud owners of the Station Inn, Leah and Alex report that their mentor proved helpful in suggesting that they build their Plan using a Pitch Deck. That approach enabled them to obtain the loan they required. They also mention that working with SCORE provided them not only the information they sought but also the confidence to move forward with navigating both the bank and the seller. Added help came from Leah’s dad who has a hospitality business background and Alex Lang who has long worked in the railroad business. But ultimately, they were able to secure the deal using Tom’s celebrity as the impetus for a path forward in running the business.
One of the couple’s early hurdles involved their lack of experience in operating a B&B, but as Leah put it, “We were way more naïve, but we figured things out along the way with good family and community support.” It was her Aunt Pat who volunteered to move to the business in Cresson. A B&B consultant supported the need for policies, pricing and sourcing. Local residents, happy to see Tom’s legacy carried on, volunteered to come and help by making coffee, cleaning up and actually running some of the operation. And a young, local marketer continues his support.
When asked about their lessons learned, Alex was quick to point out that, “I married the right person! And we employ an intuitive approach with one paying the bills and the other earning the bills.” They also found that various railroad organizations support businesses that maintain the allure that the railroads in this country continue to offer its followers.
Like most new business owners, the couple continue to face early challenges. Although they never shut the business down, and all prior reservations were accepted, they still need to increase bookings and upgrade the facility. But as they move forward, there is little doubt that success will come because, as the website says, “The Station Inn IS railfans. Watch the trains right from our front porch”.