Mary and Joe Shurilla really hadn’t thought about owning a bed-and-breakfast until they were out walking one day. “We were taking a walk through the neighborhood and saw this Victorian home,” said Joe. “It was a duplex.”
“I told him I wanted it, so we bought it,” said Mary, continuing the story. “We had to sell our house to buy it; then we kept it as a duplex for a couple years.”
Joe finally took over the renovations of the old house, and soon it became a bed-and-breakfast. That was in 1990, and the couple have been running it as the Mainstay Bed & Breakfast ever since.
“We were off and running,” she said.
The Mainstay was built in 1886 in Louisville by a Civil War veteran. It features beautifully hand-carved oak, spacious rooms and its original tin ceilings.
“The woodwork is out of the ordinary—it is a press process,” he said.
“It is what everybody notices right away,” she added. “The wood has never been painted.”
The first thing you sees upon entering the B&B, however, is the spacious dining room where breakfast is served.
The home holds five to six people at a time. There are three rooms, all of which have a private bath and are filled with antiques. A full country breakfast is served between 7 and 9:30 a.m. There is off-street parking and a nearby golf course, and it is within walking distance of downtown Louisville.
“We have had to turn people away because we’ve had so many requests,” she said. “We hate to do that, but legally we can only house so many. We are happy with what we get and what we can house.”
The house is rich in history, and some mystery.
“We think the Civil War veteran who built the house must have been paranoid,” said Mary, noting that when the house was built it was outside the city limits. “We think these are rifle sights in the windows here (parlor), and there is one in the dining room looking out into the backyard.”
The holes have been filled.
Visitors’ rooms are upstairs where there also is a sitting room for guests to enjoy. Only one room has a TV, because most of their clients aren’t there for the television.
“It has been an adventure,” said Mary of owning a B&B. “We have met so many nice people here.”
One story in particular stands out.
“Fifteen years ago, we met a woman and her friend who stayed here,” explained Mary. “He is a great Steelers fan and she has a Brooklyn accent. She called recently, and I knew right away who it was. They are coming for the Hall of Fame this year, and I can’t wait to see her.”
BEFORE THEY WERE ENTREPRENEURS
“We were both in education,” said Joe.
He was vocational director in North Canton, and she continues to teach special education elementary students at the Center for Dyslexic Children in Canton.
On a typical day with guests in the house, the couple said, clients usually arrive between 4 and 9 p.m. They sign in and get their key, and then Joe and Mary ask them about their breakfast preferences. And the rest of the stay is up to their guests.
“We usually just go on about our lives, but we are here in case they need anything,” said Mary.
The Mainstay Bed & Breakfast is at 1320 E. Main St., Louisville. For more information and reservations, call 330-875-1021 or visit www.bbonline.com/united-states/ohio/louisville/mainstay.html