Champions Case Study
George Washington Inn
June 1, 2021 | Williamsburg, VA
In October 2020, the developer, 500 Merrimac, LLC, reached out to CHAMPIONS regarding a plan to repurpose the George Washington Inn (“GW”), a 250-room convention hotel in Williamsburg Virginia, into 125 apartments. The developer was investigating the best option for removing the Furniture, Fixtures, & Equipment (FF&E) from the hotel.
500 Merrimac ultimately selected CHAMPIONS to empty and clean the property completely. The developer based its decision on the experience of CHAMPIONS’ management team, the tax-deductible receipts for FF&E donations, and the no-cost removal services.
The hotel was barely operating with occupancies in the teens. It had an expansive kitchen to support an enormous ballroom with seating capacity of 500 and a smaller one of 200. The hotel had a large restaurant off the lobby and two fully functioning bars. The property also contained a fully operating laundry with four 1000+ pound industrial washing machines, four 6-foot-high dryers, and a large sheet folding machine. The kitchen had two extensive walk-in coolers and a large walk-in freezer. The second floor included a small gym and men’s and women’s bathrooms with fully equipped dry saunas.
CHAMPIONS arrived at the GW on the evening of Monday April 5, 2021. My colleagues and I had until the end of May to complete the FF&E removal. CHAMPIONS pre-sold all 250 rooms’ FF&E to hotels within our network. TV’s, desks, safes, mini-bars, mirrors, pictures, mattresses, and curtains made up the in-room FF&E. Furthermore, CHAMPIONS achieved its time objective of emptying the rooms within 11 days.
The wide array of FF&E to liquidate required a multi-prong marketing effort. CHAMPIONS expanded its marketing of conference room, kitchen, and laundry FF&E to liquidate to include local and small businesses and residents. Champions also marketed regionally, advertised on Facebook, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association’s local pages, local area Craigslists, and reached out to resellers of used industrial kitchen and laundry equipment.
THE TACTICS WORKED! We had people coming from 20 minutes away, 2 hours away and 20 hours away. Many restaurant owners came. A local couple bought two trailers of inexpensive items to sell at weekly yard sales. A family owning a large marina near Norfolk, VA bought many of the industrial washers and dryers. The family can now wash sheets, pillows, blankets, clothes and life jackets of yacht owners who dock at the marina. The convention tables and chairs, of which we had over 900, were purchased by a woman that came down twice from Michigan and bought over 100 tables and 435 chairs. One group bought a stage, 3 dance floors and one of the large heavy 10 foot chandeliers. They own an oversized barn outside of Williamsburg, where they hold weddings and parties with four bars in each corner.
Perhaps of greatest satisfaction was CHAMPIONS’ donation of banquet tables, cots, sheets, pillows, blankets, chairs, end tables, pictures etc. to the local Salvation Army and the local Church. The local Church is represented by Bishop Curtis Harris. Captain Julio Da Silva manages the Williamsburg Salvation Army.
There were items that were extremely difficult to remove or deal with at the GW:
- 24-foot-long hoods connected to vents going to the exterior of the building
- Industrial washers that weighed over 1,300 pounds and dryers over 6 foot high in the laundry room
- 10-foot-wide X 7-foot-tall Chandeliers that weigh 200+ pounds each (5 of them)
- Two Saunas
- Stainless steel tables welded together in a room off the kitchen that was wider than the door.
- Yamaha Grand Piano and Yamaha playing piano on second and a half floor
- A section of a wing of the GW that was not used for years that was riddled with mold.
Surprisingly, during our second week into the extraction, we received a call from the owner asking if we could remove the carpets and tacks from each of the 250 rooms. After a couple of calls with the owner, we came to a mutual agreement on cost, which turned out to be 40% less than the owner’s General Contractor had quoted for the job. The General Contractor was on premise the next day. He said to me “you will never finish the carpets in 10 days!” Eight days later, we were finished.
We emptied the entire building including, maintenance rooms, storage rooms, and hidden rooms of all items. The owner was unaware that the hidden rooms even existed. Champions also cleaned up the trash throughout the entire building. Champions completed the job on May 25th, beating the May 30th contractual deadline.
The Client was thrilled. He received a tax-deductible donation receipt listing several hundred separate items in various quantities, which CHAMPIONS removed from the GW.
The Client spent little time worrying about CHAMPIONS’ work. His executives were surprised that the work was carried out so professionally and on time considering the many hurdles CHAMPIONS encountered.
The Client has since referred CHAMPIONS to another developer. He also assured us that CHAMPIONS would be their “go-to” for future properties.