YELLOW SPRINGS — The historic-style Mills Park Hotel in downtown Yellow Springs has been purchased by an employee and his spouse.
Ryan Aubin, the marketing manager for the hotel since 2019, and his husband, Alex Price, have purchased the property and business for approximately $4.5 million.
Located at 321 Xenia Avenue, the hotel was built by developer Jim Hammond and his family, who have owned and operated the business since 2016. The southern-style hotel is the only hotel in the village, with 28 guest rooms and extended-stay suites, a conference room, and banquet hall that can hold up to 150 people.
“Yellow Springs is known for its hospitality and friendliness, and the hotel takes all of that to the next level,” Aubin said. “The very first thing that I learned from (the Hammonds) is we do whatever we need to make the guest experience memorable.”
The 31,000 square-foot hotel was designed after the 19th-century home of William Mills, an early Ohio settler who first came to Yellow Springs in 1827. While the original house no longer exists, Hammond “spared no expense” in creating a unique building that matched the village’s historic downtown, and even built some of the hotel’s furniture from ash trees that grew on Mills’ estate.
“By building Mills Park Hotel, my family created an extremely successful and much needed addition to Yellow Springs,” Hammond said. “From just an idea until now, Mills Park Hotel has been both a rewarding and challenging experience. After this nearly ten-year commitment it is time for us to move on.”
Room rates range from around $125 a night to between $165 and $425 for suites. The hotel’s peak season has expanded from April to the end of October to Valentine’s Day through Christmas, and the hotel is currently sold out through November on the weekends. The building also includes the popular southern-style Elie’s Restaurant, based on restaurants in North Carolina. During the pandemic, Elie’s would receive daily calls asking when the restaurant was going to reopen, Aubin said.
Demand has also been steadily on the rise in Yellow Springs, as clientele come to enjoy Clifton Gorge and Glen Helen, the village’s festivals and street fairs, and shows by Dave Chappelle.
“2021 was the strongest year the hotel ever had,” Aubin said. “And we’re seeing increased growth in 2022.”
Hammond said he chose Aubin and Price because he didn’t want Mills Park Hotel to fall to a corporation, saying he leaves the business in “very capable hands.”
“Mills Park Hotel will remain an incredible asset to the village, and will continue its award winning customer service for years to come. We are proud of the management and staff that helped to make it all possible,” Hammond said.
Aubin said being trusted with the hotel by the Hammonds was “wildly flattering and humbling.”
“Between Alex and I, until we signed on the dotted line, I was the one that thought ‘this is not going to happen because this stuff doesn’t happen to people like us,’ ” he said. “I went forward with it because I’m going to kick myself in 15 years if I didn’t at least try. My advice to people is, what’s the harm in trying? It’s only going to make you stronger.”