The Union Recorder

June 14, 2013

Milledgeville success story reinvesting in hometown

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Milledgeville’s Antebellum Inn Bed & Breakfast received a positive bump this week. Kim and Marty Martin purchased the inn as a retirement dream.

The new ownership will add upscale ambiance, while maintaining the integrity of a historic North Columbia Street residence.

Marty described renovations that maintain the antebellum period with more “cosmo and clean.”

“We are going to take that Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons style and bring it in here,” he said.

A reinvigorated patio, fresh flowers, pristine landscaping and pool cottage upgrades are just a few additions on the Martins’ to-do list.

Guests should appreciate memorable touches.

“We want to make sure that it still has character, but we also want to find ways to modernize it,” Kim said. “The inn is a really nice place. We just want to take it to that next level.”

The Martins hired Stacey Blair as full-time Antebellum Inn manager.

Though business remained steady lately, Blair likes the renewed dedication to building a premier bed and breakfast.

“It’s been the same for the last 10 years. I think bringing in fresh paint and fresh colors will really liven it up a lot,” Blair said.

Georgia College and Georgia Military College use the inn for guest speakers or professors. Southern tourists love the home as well.

Blair said the Antebellum Inn is booked through the next three Deep Roots Festivals and Georgia College graduations.

Keeping the Antebellum appeal with the innovative additions will take the business from four to five stars, according to Kim.

The Martins decided Milledgeville was the ideal getaway from their home in Manhasset, N.Y. The former Kim Hall is the general manager and president of We tv.

The Milledgeville native and Georgia College graduate is one of the most powerful female figures in cable today. Kim also serves on the Georgia College Foundation Board of Trustees.

Along with Marty, who works in real estate and is a former national sales manager for a golf and tennis sport brand, Kim will use the inn as a residence a few times per year. Otherwise, the Antebellum Inn will continue boosted bed and breakfast operations.

Marty said owning an inn was a mutual dream. The couple and their two daughters Madison and Savannah have a place to stay when visiting the local Hall family.

“Instead of just staying with them, we decided to come down and get a small home,” Marty said. “I realized this was for sale, and it just kind of served the purpose for everything we needed.”

Kim’s mother and two sisters live here. The inn purchase was perfect timing.

“I’ve always been connected to Milledgeville and come home to visit all the time,” Kim said. “When we would come home, we would always look for houses. The Antebellum Inn just happened to be on the market.”

Marty thanked Deep South Reality agent Danny Blair for a smooth process.

“He’s the best real estate agent I’ve had in the last 20 years,” he said.

From the landscaping to carpenters, the inn will use local vendors.

The Martins plan to invest in employee training. Blair is attending a bed and breakfast inn show next January.

Whether it’s gourmet food or attentive service tailored to each guest’s personality, the new owners want better service that places the Milledgeville inn firmly on the bed and breakfast map.

The Martins are happy with their full-time manager, also from Milledgeville.

“She’s a great lady,” Kim said. “I think we’ve made a really good choice hiring her to run the inn.”

A marketing blitzkrieg is coming. Website renovation, daily Facebook updates and joining national bed and breakfast associations should increase the profile with the ideal visitor base.

Marty promised beautiful magazine ads that bring people to Milledgeville.

The prices remain steady for now pending the extensive upgrades.

Becoming more of an event destination for weddings or showers and even movie scenes are realistic possibilities for the historic location.

Having two daughters named after Georgia cities reminds Kim of comfortable times. The owners see more southern visits as a perk of the purchase.

Marty said the folks here are a little nicer and more patient than up north. Milledgeville crept into a “Yankee’s” heart.

“It’s therapy for me to go back to New York with. It’s just a nice feeling. Kim and I have this retirement dream in her hometown. It’s so perfect. Now, this is where we will hang,” Marty said.

Apparently the New York media and real estate world don’t compare to this town.

“I think that Milledgeville has the nicest people in the world,” Kim said. “We can’t wait to spend more time here.”

Extensive renovations are scheduled for the first two weeks in July. Call 478-453-3993 for booking and other details.

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