After more than 20 years of working in the hospitality industry helping other entrepreneurs build their dreams, Jay and Heather Allen decided it was time to work on their own.
The Allens had spent many of those years splitting their time working for tourist-related businesses in Newaygo, Michigan and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Jay operated a guided fly fishing service while Heather worked in hospitality. Together they would plan and execute guided vacations for folks of all ages.
In 2014, the couple realized there was a shortage of available lodging accommodations in Newaygo County which was becoming a tourist hot spot. Travelers were coming to the area for the vast waterways and public lands in the Huron Manistee National Forest, which covers over half of the county. With only about 130 rooms available compared to the neighboring county that had over 500 rooms, the Allens decided to look for an opportunity to add additional lodging.
Within a couple years, they found the ideal spot. It was the oldest building in historic downtown Newaygo and the only building to survive a fire that swept through the town in 1883. With close to 13,000 square feet and three floors, there was plenty of room to create a unique place for travelers. In 2017, the Allens purchased the building which already had a first-floor retail space and commenced construction of a seven-room, second-floor boutique hotel.
On November 1, 2020, the Muskegon River Inn opened for business.