When we developed the business plan for Lafayette Flats, in and amongst all of the financial and marketing information, we included this philosophical element:
“West Virginians are a hospitable people who are fiercely proud of their history and culture. Lafayette Flats will communicate these traits through its business practices: Extremely hospitable and eager to provide our guests an alternative narrative about the culture of West Virginia through the art and architecture chosen for the space.”
We both love our home state. We are also very aware of the negative stereotypes that often get ascribed to our state and its people. It is one of our business goals to introduce Lafayette Flats visitors to a new way to think about West Virginia. We want to surprise our guests with the real West Virginia and nothing will make us happier than if they walk away with an impression that is different from the prejudices they might have held when they arrived. Here are some of the ways we plan to do that:
Design – The interior design of the flats will surprise people. Each one will be different, and each one will be unique. We’ve struggled to come up with adjectives that describe our design schemes but nothing seems to fit. Words like “Chic,” “Hip,” “Eclectic,” and “Funky” are in the right direction, but all of those words fail to deliver the real image of the look that the spaces will have. One thing is certain, it will not be what some people will be expecting to find in West Virginia.
Art – We are art lovers and while each of us has our style preferences, we both love and appreciate local, original art. We think that West Virginia has as many extraordinary artists as any place we have seen in our travels. There’s no limit to the different styles, media and subjects that our local artists use, and we want to make sure that people from outside West Virginia get to experience this diversity up close and personal when staying at Lafayette Flats.
Literature – Our guests will find a supply of good books in their flat that will feature the true spirit of West Virginia. Some will be novels set in the state or written by West Virginian authors. Some will be non-fiction stories that take place in the state or about subjects that concern its residents. Some might be written by people who are only passing through. The common thread will be that they tell the story of the West Virginia that we all know and love, and not the same old tired, worn-out fairy tale about the place that time forgot – the Hollywood version of West Virginia.
We think that Fayetteville itself helps to illustrate this new narrative. Here is a place that through the years has attracted the attention of many people with its amazing beauty and rich supply of natural resources. But instead of repeating our state’s history, where those resources are scooped up and taken away on a train, the New River Gorge has been able to remain beautifully intact and now welcomes people to come here to enjoy it.
We are happy to be a part of this welcoming.