Jay Lallu has a unique path to the hospitality business. He was born and raised in Colon, Panama. Jay could not continue his college education as his father had fallen sick. To provide for his family, he started to work at a retail store in Colon. This opened the doors for him to begin working in wholesale importing and exporting for a few months. The experience of doing time in retail and wholesaling allowed him to open a retail store of his own where he sold cosmetics, perfumes, and other gift items.
Jay saw a new opportunity in traveling to clients in Guatemala, Ecuador, and Colombia to become a wholesaler for factories in India, Hong Kong, and Bangkok. Jayesh’s other business ventures included Indian groceries and getting Indian movies in theaters in Panama before he finally decided it was time to move his family to the United States.
Jay, his wife Rina, daughter Hershila, and mother Savitaben landed at a 124 room Best Western in Athens, Texas. With little experience, he worked as the General Manager, while his wife was the Head Housekeeper. After doing his time in Athens, Jayesh and his family moved to Shreveport, Louisiana to operate a Howard Johnson. His many years of service at these two businesses, he was finally able to purchase and operate his first property, Days Inn in Fordyce, Arkansas.
He was not to be intimidated by being a new small business owner in a new town. He immediately became involved in various organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club, in Fordyce. After much success with his first property, Jay purchased a second Days Inn in Cabot, 15 miles north of Little Rock.
After spending many years moving in attempts to provide for his family, Jay and his family reside in Cabot, Arkansas, where he enjoys watching movies, spending quality time with family, following politics, and giving back to his local community.
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Almost overnight, the roadside motel is a hot commodity. Travelers are going by car and when they stop they want the safest stay possible. The coronavirus pandemic has pushed health and safety to the top of hotel guests’ most-favored-amenity list and exterior-corridor properties appear to provide more of a risk-free stay than their interior-corridor cousins. Long Live Lodging examines the new shine travelers have put on exterior-corridor motels during the COVID-19 crisis and how brands heavy with motel-style properties are responding to the trend. This report is part of Long Live Lodging’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the hotel industry.