University of Dayton Flyer alums Jeff and Leslie Gonya graduated in 1995 and ’94 respectively. Although neither majored in business, they own a successful B&B in Dayton’s Oregon Historic District.
The married couple stays busy. Jeff works full-time as a mechanical engineer, which was his field of study, and Leslie started her own travel agency, Ideal Travel. She still works part-time in travel sales.
With Leslie’s experience in the travel business, they decided to open Inn Port Guesthouse at 139 Brown St. in the Oregon District in 2003.
That was a positive investment, so they opened another, Inn Port D’Vino, in 2007. That historic building is billed as a European Retreat just down the road at 22 Brown St.
“Attending UD helps to nurture the attitude to not be afraid to try anything,” said Leslie, who majored in secondary education. “Hospitality and community are both part of the Marianist (tradition). We try to make all of our guests feel welcome in that spirit when they at Inn Port.”
Between the two properties, they have four units for nightly stays, and three extended-stay suites for guests needing accommodations for a week or longer. The couple not only obtained their businesses in the Oregon District, they live a short distance away in the same neighborhood.
“The best part of owning a bed & breakfast is being an ambassador to out-of-town guests, promoting what we love about Dayton, an specifically, our neighborhood,” said Leslie. “Located within walking distance of a dozen independent restaurants, several breweries and retail shops, two theaters and Dayton Dragon’s baseball is a wonderful thing.”
The first property they considered was located in Tipp City, but that didn’t materialize.
“Guy Roth, our realtor, did a great job of coming up with several alternatives. We had never even considered the Oregon District until we walked through the building that later became Inn Port Guesthouse,” said Leslie. “It is such a welcoming, friendly community for both residents and guests, and there is so much to see and do in the area.”
To be sure, the Gonya’s B&B is a little unusual in that they don’t serve breakfast.
They don’t offer homemade waffles, but they brag about their wine. They opened Deaf Monty’s Wine in 2011, named after their deaf pound pup. Appropriately, the small wine bar and retail shop is located inside Inn Port D’Vino.
“All B&B’s are as unique as the people who operate them. We are a lodging establishment with a wine bar in an 1877 Victorian house in the heart of the city, not a country inn,” said Leslie. “I personally refer to us as a ‘Bed and Vino.’”
They do stock a continental breakfast in a commons area; and two of the units have kitchens. The inns keep them busy however, as there are very few nights each year when they don’t have guests. They have five part-time employees, including a retired school principal, a high school student, and a few who work full-time but help about five hours a week.
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Contact this contributing writer at PamDillon@woh.rr.com.