Allyson Hollrah standing in front of her business in Hermann

From College Savings to Entrepreneurship: Ally Hollrah’s Business Venture in Hermann, Missouri

Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, Allyson Hollrah always knew the value of financial independence. With money saved up for college and the achievement of earning a golf athletic scholarship, Allyson’s journey now has her following in her family’s footsteps.

A sophomore at William Woods who is majoring in Business Administration, Allyson is already exercising the knowledge she has acquired through her entrepreneur course as she has now become one herself. Seeing an opportunity to put a stamp on her hometown and with Hermann’s thriving tourist industry in mind, in 2023 she bought a beautiful historic building, one that has two separate storefronts and existing Airbnb units.

Her new opportunity, however, did come with challenges and risks. Talking about one of her challenges, Allyson stated, “The timing of becoming an Airbnb owner and a landlord while I have academic commitments has not been an easy task. I was in class the other day and got a phone call from one of my tenants with an issue with the electricity.” And when obtaining a loan from the bank, she had to present to them her comprehensive business plan, one of the skills she had learned in her entrepreneurship class the previous semester. “It was neat to see this full circle moment from learning how to create and present a business plan in class, to actually doing it for my business,” explained Allyson. With the support and guidance of her parents, Allyson embarked on a learning journey navigating the world of entrepreneurship. And once her loan was approved, she went to work.

Allyson Hollrah

Initially, Allyson had to handle every aspect of the Airbnbs, from cleaning and restocking to ensuring the properties were presentable. Eventually her persistence and hard work paid off as she teamed up with a top Airbnb site in Hermann, a collaboration that not only reduced her workload but also increased bookings, creating a more sustainable and manageable income stream. As she gears up for the summer, plans include renovating and expanding her Airbnb offerings. She has a diverse set of properties, ranging from a cozy two-person suite to a spacious hen house suite accommodating up to eight people. Branded as “Inn by Ally,” a clever play on words with her larger hen house being located in an alley, the name encapsulates the unique and subtle charm she aims to provide Hermann. She is also growing her business, recently purchasing another building that is located next to her parents’ upcoming winery, planning to have it serve as the Airbnb that serves the winery.

As Allyson reflects on her business venture, her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to embrace risks.

“The financial uncertainties of starting a business may seem daunting, but the long-term benefits outweigh the initial struggles,” she said. “It is also important to understand your purpose and passion because that is what will drive you.”

For Allyson, the dream was to contribute to Hermann’s growth by providing a welcoming home for weekend getaways. Through hard work, dedication and utilizing what she has learned at The Woods, it’s clear she is doing just that.