Hotel 21 and the Shelby Lynn Floral Design store inside it have been open since April and June, respectively. The two Gering businesses were officially welcomed to the area by the Scottsbluff/Gering Chamber of Commerce with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, Sept. 10. It was the first time the new business owners were available to host the ceremony together.
The site of the Hotel 21 had been through a few changes over the decades, going from an icehouse to a salvage shop to the luxury hotel it is now. Co-owner Lisa Weborg bought the location with her husband Troy in 2017, and spent much of the time since adding to it.
“The actual hotel rooms are new, we just had to figure out what to do with what we had,” she said. because of the coronavirus and other delays, the opening date for the hotel was pushed back from Oct. 1, 2020, to New Year’s Day, to Valentine’s Day, to Saint Patrick’s Day, and finally to April Fool’s Day.
“And we had nobody here, and I’m like, ‘Oh no, what a day to open!’” she said.
The hotel itself has 32 rooms, including 10 suites, spread out among three floors. There is a bar and lounge, various skill games, a conference room with enough space to seat 160, a fitness center, and a ball room.
Anyone can visit, Weborg said. Guests don’t have to book a room if they want to explore what the hotel has to offer. Hotel 21 also offers “staycation” packages, for local residents who want to stay for the night.
Since their opening day, the hotel has routinely been packed with visitors, Weborg said. Weddings are a commonplace occurrence at the adjacent Weborg 21 Centre, and guests usually stay at the hotel. Conferences, funeral dinners and vacationers also keep Weborg and her staff busy. Events like Oregon Trail Days and the Old West Balloon Fest have led to the hotel being at its fullest.
“We had the whole hotel full, 18 rooms for officials and the rest were pilots,” general manager Joe Kishiyama said.
Kishiyama described the complex as a one-stop shop, with opportunities for events, dining, shopping and sleeping all within walking distance. He said guests from as far away as Puerto Rico and Saudi Arabia have praised the hotel. Weborg said the art style for the rooms and lobby was designed to inspire a sense of class.
“We have plenty of hotels in town, but we’ve never had a hotel like this,” Kishiyama said. “We just try to offer something different.”
Another thing the hotel does differently is having its own dedicated flower and decor shop located right within the building, with less of a luxury style and more of a modern boutique deco.
“Sometimes, the brides and grooms come here to visit, or people who go on tours stop here and say hi,” Shelby Sharp-Druckenmiller, owner of Shelby Lynn Floral Design, said.
Being located in the hotel allows guests to browse the shop or request flower deliveries while they stay there.
“That’s something fun that I do with my shop because it’s not something any other shop can do,” Sharp-Druckenmiller said.
The store opened exactly two months after the hotel did.
The shop sells more than just flowers. It offers snacks, balloons, plush animals, bath bombs, handbags, coffee and seasonal decor for sale. Sharp-Druckenmiller said she wanted to fill the store with items customers wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.
A veteran of both the floral business and the U.S. Air Force, she also designs custom sympathy, anniversary, birthday and wedding bouquets and baskets.
“I really, really love doing gift baskets for people because I think they’re so personal,” she said. “…For me personally, customer service is probably the most important thing for my shop.”
Depending on time of year, she can work on a dozen or more floral arrangements in a day. Aside from her mother and husband helping with deliveries, she has done everything by herself, although she said she was aiming to hire help in October.
She has also invested time in learning strategies to expand her outreach, regularly updating social media and taking classes to learn how to adapt in an evolving industry. She will even attend a seminar on how to cater for wedding decor in November.
“If I invest in myself now, and I…push myself constantly, that’s for my family,” Sharp-Druckenmiller said. “I love it.”
Her floral design shop and Hotel 21 will host a joint grand opening celebration on the afternoon of Sept. 30. It might be their official opening, but Weborg said she was grateful the Scottsbluff and Gering communities have supported them so well throughout the last few months.
To strengthen the community ties, the ‘21’ in the hotel’s name doesn’t come from the year it opened.
Instead, it comes from Scotts Bluff County’s license plates.