BY BARB BERGGOETZ
Paul and Sue Fratianni are avid environmentalists. When they opened Persimmon Inn in September 2014, they wanted to follow their ideals, support the local economy, and offer a positive experience for guests. To those ends, the inn features eco-friendly paper and cleaning products; local, organic soaps; mattresses made by an Indiana company; and organic breakfast fare from Bloomingfoods Market & Deli.
“We want everyone to have a restful, peaceful time here,” says Sue, 40, who handles marketing and the website (persimmoninn.com). The inn, located at 412 W. 4th St. in the Prospect Hill Historic District, is a restored turn-of-the-century home with four guest rooms. Each has its own bathroom, furnished with organic amenities from local soap makers Creating Harmony LLC and Teehaus Bath & Body and towels made from renewable bamboo. Rooms have flat-screen TVs, hardwood floors, and mattresses from Bowles Mattress Co. located in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
The couple, who lives a half-block away, opened the inn because they wanted to run a business where they could put their ideals into practice and have the flexibility to care for their 2-year-old daughter, Sophie, at home.
“I’ve always been attracted to owning my own business,” says Paul, 45, who previously owned rental properties. He bought the house in 2002, remodeled it for two years, operated a health food store there, and then leased the building as a wellness center.
Once the couple decided to open the inn, they added three baths and a fourth guest room. They also installed an energy-efficient gas heater and an on-demand hot water system. This year they plan to add solar panels on the roof and a rain barrel in the yard.
Their organic gardens have been designated a certified wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. The plantings are primarily Indiana native plants, and Paul says their outdoor efforts take carbon dioxide out of the environment, beautify the land, and deaden street sounds. Sue, formerly a lead technical trainer at a New Jersey university, says the inn has a high rating on TripAdvisor among local bed and breakfasts. “I’m really proud that we’ve gone up in the ranking in just a year,” she says.
“Guests really like the [downtown] location,” says Paul. “They enjoy that it’s like a home and it’s small.”