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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Set backs don't deter opening of new Worthington bed and breakfast

Friday, October 12, 2012

(By Sabrina Westfall) Brenda Wall stands next to the Red Willow Inn sign constructed by her husband's nephew, Morris Ridenour. [Order this photo]
After three years of set backs and nearly giving up hope, a Worthington woman has finally achieved her dreams of opening a bed and breakfast.

A few years ago Brenda Wall's husband, Layton, bought her a "Bed and Breakfast for Dummies" book after expressing interest in opening an establishment.

The Red Willow Inn is now open at 208 N. Myra St. in Worthington, and Wall said the name has special meaning to the Wall family.

When Layton's son, Jeremy, passed away in 2007 local superintendents donated a Cherry Willow Tree, angel and bench to the family. The willow tree is planted in the front yard of the red home.

Wall said the donated willow inspired the name of the bed and breakfast to keep Jeremy's memory alive.

What started as a small building next to an empty lot has grown into the two story, four bedroom home of the Walls. Which, now is becoming the second bed and breakfast in Worthington.

"People asked me, 'Why are you opening up an inn in the middle of nowhere?'" Wall said.

Her answer was simple, she wanted to help satisfy a need in the area, as well as help put Greene County on the map.

She used the example her husband, who serves as the White River Valley School District Superintendent, has had guest speakers come to the area and have them stay in Bloomington or Terre Haute. Then those visitors would get lost

She said the experiences her husband had led her to include discounts for local businesses and churches boarding guests in the area.

Local churches who board guest pastors for revivals will receive 50 percent off the stay and local businesses who need to board visitors will receive a 10 percent discount.

The three suites will include the Wild Willow Suite, meant for honeymooners or other couples; the Sycamore Sweet; or the Cherry Willow Family Suite.

There is also a game room, exercise equipment, electric fire places in the rooms and a patio equipped with a fire place and grill.

"When people come in here they are going to smell my chili or the potato soup I make. They can just pay for supper here, which will be reasonable like $5. I want it to feel like they are coming home," Wall said.

She stressed the importance of allowing her guests to feel welcome, pampered and completely stress free.

"If I know what time they are arriving I will have a batch of fresh cookies and tea made up for them," Wall added.

Wall said she also hopes to have visitors get a real taste of Greene County through day trips around the county, which she hopes will include the viaduct, Sculpture Trails outdoor museum, Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area and Shawnee Theatre.

"They are going to come here out of necessity, and when they leave they will be sold on Greene County," Wall said.

She said she intends on going all out for her guests because she isn't in the business to make a lot of money, but to follow her own dream.

"I don't have to skimp. We already own this home. When I opened this I said as long as it pays the mortgage and the bills I would be happy," Wall stressed.

Wall added there was a lot of sentiment in the house, including an old calendar of her daughter's brought back from Rome, a photo of her son in the Army and memorabilia from her former boss.

Wall said she was emotional about the opening of the Inn because she thought her dream would never come true considering her past and recent obstacles.

She said when she was 15-years-old growing up in Leavenworth, Ga. she reached a low point in her life.

"My sister and I went down to Stephenson's General Store and I stole a can of Spam so we could have food," Wall explained with tears in her eyes.

A few years ago she visited her childhood home in Leavenworth to find it had been changed to a bed and breakfast.

During the trip she had the change to go down to the old general store and speak with the former owner. She paid the woman back for the stolen can of spam, and bought another can.

"God used that very same place my dreams were shattered to instill this dream," Wall said.

She stressed while she had to drop out of high school to get a GED and was not able to follow her dream of becoming a teacher she was still able to pursue other dreams.

"Just because you don't have an education doesn't mean you are not smart or intellectual. There are still some opportunities," Wall said.

For more information about the Red Willow Inn Bed and Breakfast call 812-875-2619 or 812-327-8920. The website www.redwillowinn.com will also be up and running soon.

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Congrats Sabrina :)

-- Posted by drifterbob on Sat, Oct 13, 2012, at 3:08 AM

congratulations Brenda

-- Posted by cruella on Sun, Oct 14, 2012, at 10:52 AM

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