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Affordable Suites extends warm welcome for 20 years

SALISBURY – Affordable Suites of America’s Salisbury location will soon celebrate 20 years of service. The extended-stay hotel, located at 1305 Julian Road, opened in 2000 and currently has more than 30 rooms.

“It’s been a fun ride,” said Chris Rutherford, chief operations officer of Affordable Suites. “We’ve added six hotels since 2008, and we are currently in the process of building another 20 as we speak that will be tied along with the same model as the affordable model suites. We started with eight hotels and are trying to get 400 to 500 more hotels within the next seven years.”

Rutherford, who oversees day-to-day operations of the business and is involved in development and franchising, said the hotel suits customers looking for an “at-home feel.”

“Anyone who is looking to stay and wants the ability to cook in their room, rather than go out to eat every night, our property is perfect for that kind of client,” Rutherford said. “We offer about a 500-square-foot room. There are two TVs in each room, a separated living space from the sleeping space, a full-size refrigerator, full-size appliances, and also pots and pans supplied.”

Every room is like a mini-apartment, said Rutherford.

Laurie Hearn, resident manager for Affordable Suites in Salisbury, said the hotel is often booked to capacity.

“If I have one going out, I have one coming in. I currently have a waiting list of those looking to stay,” Hearn said.

The best part about working at the hotel is being able to meet people from different areas and different walks of life, said Hearn.

One woman who stayed recently had stopped in after a trip to Disney World, while another who stayed there temporarily just bought a home on Jackson Street, Hearn said.

Hearn said many construction workers and people in the medical field often stay at Affordable Suites.

“A lot of nurses and doctors stay here for three months or more. We once had a surgeon stay here. We even have retired veterans who stay here,” Hearn said.

She said she loves her work and often goes above and beyond to help guests find events in downtown Salisbury to participate in. She often prints directions for those new to town who may not have navigation systems to use.

Guests such as Patricia Howell call Affordable Suites home.

“I’ve been staying here for two years after being displaced out of my home,” Howell said. “I enjoy everything. Anything I need is just a phone call away. We’re like family here. It’s quiet and peaceful.”

Hearn says her guests at Affordable Suites are her top priority.

“When we clean a room, we don’t clean a room like a normal hotel does. Everything comes off the wall, the beds come off the frames. The refrigerators and ovens are pulled away from the wall, and everything is scrubbed and cleaned,” she said.

The extended-stay hotel also offers on-site laundry facilities. Most rooms have one queen-size bed.

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