John Graf decided to join the family business because he enjoyed putting smiles on people’s faces. This was in stark contrast to his work in law where he was often dealing with clients who were experiencing the worst day of their professional lives. Under his leadership at the Priory Hospitality Group, he expanded on the work started by his parents by adding 17 guestrooms to the Priory Hotel in 2011. He also continued improving and promoting the Grand Hall at the Priory, developing its reputation into Pittsburgh’s premier special event facility.
In 1984, John Graf’s parents purchased a condemned monastery and church in the Deutschtown neighborhood. After pouring lots of hard work, passion, and money into the project, they were able save the properties and turn them into a beautiful hotel and event space. After a massive renovation and addition in 2011, the Priory Hotel now consists of 42 rooms and the Grand Hall at the Priory has become a mainstay for weddings and special events in the city. In recent years, John has added to his company’s portfolio by purchasing the Mansions on Fifth Hotel in Shadyside.
Today, John operates the only fully independent historic boutique hotel properties in Pittsburgh. His hospitality group has become a trusted source of information and support for regional hotels and for other independent owners evaluating entry into the boutique hotel space. In our conversation, John talks about the important role that independent hotel operators play in the hospitality industry and why he stopped practicing law in order to join the family business.
If you have any questions or if you’d like to chat, you can reach me at my contact info below. The purpose of this podcast is to share ideas, inspire action, and build a stronger small business community here in Pittsburgh. So please say hello, tell me what you think, and let me know how I’m doing. It means a ton!
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