What’s a king without his queen? The same might be said for hotels — at least in Hutchinson.

After purchasing and overhauling King Motel early last year, Rick and Kelly Bestul acquired Economy Inn, 200 State Highway 7, July 30. It’s now Queen’s Inn, completing a Highway 7 hotel pair. But why did the pair expand so quickly? Demand.

“We bought the first one and we do a lot with transitional and extended stay,” Kelly said. “There is a huge need for that in town.”

“Housing is getting tough for people,” Rick said, adding that mistakes people have made in the past can hamper their ability to rent an apartment in a tight market.

Others have trouble affording the high upfront cost of rent, or need somewhere to stay while on a waiting list or waiting to have had a new local job long enough to be accepted in a building.

“We are finding there is a homeless issue here,” Rick said. “There are people with no place to go, or they are rebuilding their lives.”

Because of the high demand for affordable transitional or extended housing, King Motel often didn’t have enough room for everyone.

“So we were going to expand,” Kelly said.

But instead of spending the money to expand King Motel, they jumped at the opportunity to purchase a new building with many more rooms than the eight planned. And they’ll stay pet friendly at the new location.

“The visibility on this end of town is much better,” Kelly said. “We had such good luck over there (on the west side of town) renovating rooms and developing a reputation, we figured we could do the same thing on this end of town.”

RENOVATIONS ON THE WAY

The new Queen’s Inn sign went up July 31, and work has been underway since then. A few rooms are up to standards, a new coat of blue paint is finished on the front, and the sidewalk has been repaired. The driveway needs work and many rooms need to be overhauled completely. One, for instance, had walls badly damaged from a former tenant.

“We are starting in one room and working our way down,” said Rick, who expects he’ll be at it for months.

Upgrades will improve plumbing and air conditioning, and fridge and microwave sizes will be upgraded. The Wi-Fi is already in place.

Rick and Kelly know extended-stay motels have a reputation of being dirty or unsafe, but they’ve taken a firm stance to avoid the same perception in their establishments. Even if tenants believe their room is clean, staff are in the room once a week to clean and check for questionable activity or smoking. Guests aren’t allowed.

“We have zero tolerance for anything illegal,” Kelly said.

Their approach also gives them an opportunity to check in on tenants and make sure they’re taking the next steps they need to take.

“Everyone has a story and everyone deserves a chance,” Kelly said.

The rules have kept some people away, but that’s fine with Rick and Kelly. They want their guests to know the building is safe and for it to be available to those who need somewhere to go.

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