Thirty-one may seem like a small number, but according to the Tavern Hotel owner Eric Jurisin it signifies a great benefit to Cottonwood’s economy.
On Jan. 1, Jurisin and his wife, Michele — who together run the Haunted Group’s six restaurants in Cottonwood and Jerome — broke ground on the Tavern Hotel’s expansion, which will increase the building’s capacity from 13 rooms to 44.
It’s no small deal, according to Jurisin: 44 rooms, running at 50 percent double-room capacity throughout the year, would bring approximately 16,000 people into Old Town.
“Our current occupancy is 85 percent, with limited marketing,” Jurisin said, adding that he plans to step up marketing once the hotel’s expansion opens in September. “With the 13 rooms now, I have to dumb down marketing because we’re just scheduled too far out.”
Once completed, the hotel will be attached to the Tavern Grille, creating a flow between them. Crema Craft Kitchen and Bar, across the street, will also be used to a greater extent to accommodate guests.
“They will all look like one property,” Jurisin said.
In addition, the hotel will feature a full-time lobby — a lodging feature new to Old Town that will guarantee guests access to the hotel at any hour. Such amenities will help Old Town compete with lodging elsewhere, including Sedona.
“We’re on a good roll,” Jurisin said. “The hotel’s going to have a great impact on the community.”
According to Jurisin, the city of Cottonwood is an active partner in guaranteeing a business’ success and should continue investing in the wine industry to drive economic growth in the Verde Valley region.
“The wine is the difference,” Jurisin said, adding that much of his own marketing is targeted toward wine enthusiasts. “That brought people into Old Town.”
Of the people Jurisin praised for increasing the marketability of Cottonwood due to winemaking, Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars founder Maynard James Keenan featured strongly. According to Jurisin, having people like Keenan advocate strongly for the area is invaluable.
In November, Keenan opened Merkin Vineyards Tasting Room and Osteria in Old Town.