Vista Lodge Franchisee Converts & Redeems Failing Franchise

Source: Galesburg Register-Mail

Congratulations to Vista Lodge franchisees Raj and Pina Kshirsagar who have won another award for their inspiring turnaround of a troubled motel property, and successful conversionto a Vista Lodge.

Here are some excerpts from a recent story on them in their local paper:

Raj Kshirsagar and his wife, Pina, believe hard work is the fuel that powers the journey to that elusive destination — success.

The couple, owners of Vista Lodge, 565 W. Main St., give credit to those who helped them win the Sales & Marketing award from Vista Hospitality Solutions of Tennessee the past two years. But, they feel the work must start with them.

“Don’t put 100 percent,” said Pina Kshirsagar, who, along with her husband, came to the U.S. from India in 1993. “Put 110 percent. What I believe, everybody has to work hard.”

The hard work has paid off. Raj and Pina ran a convenience store in Spartanburg, S.C., to make enough money to make it possible two years ago to realize their dream of owning a motel.

The 55-room motel at one time was part of the Travelodge system. It had deteriorated over the years — both physically and its reputation — until most families would bypass it.

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When he bought what was then the Traveler’s Rest Inn, Raj bought a franchise from Murfreesboro, Tenn.-based Vista. He replaced the furniture, bed spreads, sheets and had all the rooms painted. All rooms now have the new energy-efficient light bulbs, as part of his effort to “go green.”

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High-speed Internet access is available, along with free local calls. A fountain in front of the motel is part of the effort to upgrade the exterior look.

Working hard also means paying attention to detail, Raj said. Walking into the bathroom in one of the rooms, he showed off some of the toiletries.

“I tried to improve the shampoo and soap,” he said. “What I do, I do so I do better. Next year I want to do something better so I can get that award again. … The last year I saw my business going up. The economy is down, but my business is improving.”

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Pina is a great believer in hard work and honesty. She tries to learn from past generations, while hoping young people will learn from the example she and her husband set.

“People, if they don’t want to work hard, they are not going to have success,” Pina said. “If your goal is to be a millionaire, work hard.”

She said if people do that, they do not have to brag about their accomplishments.
“You work hard, people notice,” she said. “The city notices, the whole world notices you. Let your work speak up.”