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Meandering through the aisles at the Mid-Atlantic Innkeepers Trade Show and Conference last month we found some fascinating and innovative vendors — all with amazing stories to share along with their product or service. With such an abundance, we thought we’d share a quick vendor roundup to help introduce innkeepers to a few booths that caught our eye.

J & S International
What originally started as an international trip to the Himalayan village of Kashmir, India, resulted in a new profession for former cancer researcher Jay Sethi, now owner of J & S International. While visiting the small village he was struck by the beauty and talent of the artisans who created stunning chain-stitched rugs and pillows.

“I just fell in love with these,” he said of the handmade product in a 2005 issue of Home Furnishings News. “It was destiny I guess,” he said of discovering the village artisans who create the wool and cotton pieces using Ari hooks instead of needles.

J & S International has since employed this village of skilled craftsmen and women to create vibrantly colored designs based on floral, oceanic, and animal kingdom themes — all featuring that detailed, labor-intensive chain stitch. It takes one day to produce just one square foot, Sethi said.


Little Luxuries of Virginia
For Jean and Chip Alvis it been the perfect partnership of creativity, artistry, and entrepreneurial ingenuity — a partnership that not only launched a skincare company, but a partnership that resulted in a wonderful marriage.

After both losing their spouses late in life, Jean and Chip found each other on an online dating site, married and have since been working together creating Little Luxuries of Virginia. The handcrafted soaps, lotions, scrubs, and body butters are made from fresh ingredients and uniquely packaged.

Chip, who was a hand/steel engraver for 30 years, custom designs and engraves the soap molds himself, adding that bit of personal touch to the luxurious soaps. “We have had so many people comment in delight at the beautifully engrave initials on our soaps,” said Jean on the company’s website.


Houstory Publishing
If the walls of your inn could speak, what would they say? Houstory Publishing helps innkeepers create an archival journal for their bed and breakfast to capture those stories waiting to be uncovered from behind the years of paint, wallpaper, and carpet. Whether a historic Colonial home with centuries of photographs and stories, or a newly constructed stately property with new memories being made, the Home History Book’s leather-bound 244-pages will be a treasured chronicle for any inn.

Within those pages innkeepers will find a guest registry, archival-safe sleeves for nearly 80 photographs, a home improvement/records section, and 10 “Our Home’s Stories” sections for capturing the history of the residence.

Built to last generations, a Home History Book archival journal is a sturdy, heirloom-quality book that is meant to stay with the home so that its owners — both present and future — will know and be able to share its story.


Always a favorite conference of the SuiteExchange.com team, we are already excited about the next Mid-Atlantic Innkeeper Trade Show and Conference for 2013 which will be held March 10-13 in Hunt Valley, MD. For more information or to register, check out their site: MidAtlanticInnkeepers.com