Inside Business Track: EVL Lodge
EVL Lodge Keeps on Improving
By Chad Neal
Ellicottville is a destination and has been for a long time. Even before the ski industry boomed decades ago, Ellicottville was a stop over for travelers making their way through the area. The EVL Lodge (previously Kelly House Lodge) has been part of the accommodating services in Ellicottville since 1847 or before according to an article in the Architectural Digest part of The Villager by Anne London. The House was a quaint lodge to rest and relax long before it was the center point of guests after a long day of skiing. As it expanded and the lodge outback was built and made, it was more of a hostel, but has since become a lodge for a more “low key family friendly environment.” Since the name and staff change, the limited liability company Ellicottville Properties purchased the property hired on Tony Distefano to be the Inn Keeper and since he has been making improvements and bringing the lodge to a new level of affordable accommodation while still keeping with the demands of the Ellicottville tourism industry.
The Villager went to the EVL Lodge to interview Distefano, who also manages 3 other rental properties in the area. “We’re keeping the rates affordable,” he said, “and we did double the business this summer compared to last summer; I’m pretty proud of it. I learned a lot working here, all about guest experience. There is no other place in town you can get a guy to carry luggage in for you; it’s all about the guest’s experience.”
Distefano also told the Villager that they have been reinforcing the construction of the lodge as well. “We made structural improvements to the building, we put a new French drainage system in the basement and installed new plumbing, and improved the structural integrity of the building. All new stuff.” Distefano shared.
Distefano told the Villager they’ve gone through leaps and bounds, upgrading the bedding and doing general improvements all around. They have placed new furniture in the lobby and rooms also. They resurfaced the driveway for more convenient and comfortable parking. The EVL Lodge is in the process of getting new signage by “Something Scrolled Wood Art” owner Emily Arena, and she has also made some of the wall décor. Her signs can also be seen in town at Madigan’s, Katy’s Cafe, and the recently closed Tips Up Cafe among some other places. Some of the other signage at the EVL Lodge was made by the late Bob McCarthy. Distefano revealed he learned a lot from McCarthy in those first few months of the changeover from Kelly House Lodge to EVL Lodge. Distefano told the Villager that Bob McCarthy helped him with a lot of the change over with carpentry and aesthetics as well. Among other improvements Distefano remodeled the bathrooms in the lodge too.
Distefano is a personable Innkeeper, the kind that offers a beverage to you when upon checking in. He happily gives advice on the happenings in town and he is in partnership with John Rounds of Adventure Bound on the Fly, any clients of Rounds’ in groups big or small can receive a 10% discount, he also gives discounts to groups of ten or more. EVL Lodge is also partnered with professional cleaners Martens Cleaning Service to ensure clean and comfortable rooms upon check in. Music will be playing in the lobby and the comfortable sitting room makes it a cozy place to gather.
For rates and more information check out the website evllodge.com or call them at 716-949-7474.