New Hotel Owners Celebrate American Dreams

It was a celebration to show anything’s possible in America.

The Best Western Luxbury Inn, 5501 Coventry Lane in Fort Wayne, has new owners, and they held a special party March 22 with friends and local media.

The story of how Fort Wayne native Joe Townsend and his business partner, Charlie Chen, have found success is inspirational.

When Chen came to America from China more than 20 years ago, he didn’t speak any English, but managed to find a job as a dishwasher at Japanese restaurant Takaoka in downtown Fort Wayne. As he worked his way up, he became a hibachi chef, forcing him to interact with customers, and therefore learning the English language. Today, he owns several commercial real estate properties, including two restaurants. As of March 10, he’ll add the Best Western Luxbury Inn to his holdings.

Photo by Best Western

Townsend has worked at the Best Western off and on since 2004, serving as night auditor, sales manager, and currently the operations manager. In 2019, he was working full time for Rent-A-Center in New Haven and helping out the Luxbury’s current owners, Dev and Meera Piprottar, taking his part-time wages and investing them in cryptocurrency and the stock market. When the opportunity recently came up to buy the hotel, he moved his investments into the hospitality industry.

“I’ve worked there for so long,” Townsend said. “I’ve gotten to know the hotel and understand the needs of its customers.”

Buying the hotel has been his dream for a long time, although he wasn’t expecting to take ownership quite this soon.

“My five-year plan became a one-year plan,” he said.

Photo by Best Western

His vision for the future of the Best Western Luxbury Inn is to continue to grow the leisure travel industry in Fort Wayne. They are working with Greater Fort Wayne Inc., Visit Fort Wayne, and the Plex indoor sports arena to draw more tourism to the area.

He said southwest Fort Wayne already has a vibrant corporate travel industry, given General Motors, Vera Bradley, Sweetwater, and Lutheran Hospital being located nearby, but more could be done to bring leisure travel to the area, such as more hotels offering full buffet breakfasts and other amenities that corporate travelers may not need.

“Leisure travel is just now starting to come back after COVID-19,” Townsend said. “Corporate travel recovered a while ago.”

Townsend will act as the new general manager, while Chen serves as a voting member, continuing to focus on his restaurants.

Best Western is a nonprofit organization with each hotelier (franchisee) having voting privileges to determine the direction and make policy decisions.

The Best Western Luxbury Inn is a smoke-free hotel. Guests can enjoy complimentary breakfasts, a seasonal outdoor pool and a state-of-the-art fitness center. All public spaces are ADA accessible. Pets are allowed, based on the availability of pet-friendly rooms; limitations apply.

To make reservations, call (260) 436-0242 or book online at bwfortwayne.com. Like their page on Facebook.

Cover photo by Emery McClendon

Published by Gwen Clayton

Gwen Clayton is a freelance writer living in Ashland, Kentucky. She is the former editor of the Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly, and has written for numerous other publications since 1986. Her first book, the paranormal thriller "Fermata Cellars," was published in 2016, and her Bible-inspired short story, "Purr: A story of love, lions and a Hebrew named Daniel," was released in 2019. She recently finished writing, "Zinfandel’s Grimoire," which is the sequel to 'Fermata;' that book is in the editing and design phase of publication. Her current works in progress include the third book in the Rivervine Trilogy, tentatively titled, "Comatis Unveiled," and the nonfiction, "Dragon's Poker Table: A rocker chick's breast cancer journey." Her books are independently published under the imprint, Rivervine LLC. In addition to writing books, Clayton contracts as a copywriter for local, small businesses.

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