Suzanne Roig
The Bulletin

What: Bunk and Brew

Employees: one full-time; nine part-time.

Address: 42 NW Hawthorne Ave., Bend

Website: www.bunkandbrew.com

Business is booming at the Bunk and Brew in Bend.

Occupancy averages 75% at the seven-bedroom hostel. Owners are in the process of adding a 500-square-foot bathhouse, landscaping, off-street parking and purchasing the home next door for more accommodation space.

The Bunk and Brew is located on Hawthorne Avenue at the historic Lucas House. Here guests can stay for anywhere from $25 a night for a bunk, a beer and some company to $150 a night for a private room, a beer and some company.

Guests socialize if they want. Watch TV or hang outside in the yard at one of the many picnic tables or hammocks, said the 31-year-old Frankie Maduzia, one of the owners and founders.

That’s the life of a hostel, said J. Charles Griggs, 38, a co-owner.

“It’s a lot of fun and a great way to make a living,” Griggs said. “Having control over your environment is awesome.”

Almost immediately after the pair purchased the house in the Bend historic district, they began to make plans for expansion. The bathhouse will be completed by the end of July and open not only to guests but day-trippers who need a bath, Wi-Fi and a beer for a fee, he said.

Maduzia and Griggs spoke to The Bulletin about their hostel. Their responses have been edited.

Q: How did you get into the hostel business?

A: Griggs: We were acquaintances before and played soccer on rec league. We quit our jobs. I was an Oregon attorney and Frankie was into health care IT. Portland was saturated with accommodations, and we thought that Bend might be a good market especially when we couldn’t find a room. We looked at the numbers and determined there was a need here. We’re an adventure-focused hostel.

Maduzia: We wanted to do something else. Having traveled we knew about hostels and found this place.

Q: Why a hostel?

A: Maduzia: A lot of people don’t understand the concept. They’re usually in big cities. It’s essentially a shared experience and a shared economy. We tell people we’re a European-style bed and breakfast. We have dorms with four to six bunk beds.

Griggs: We support a lot of international travelers here. We turn away business during the summer months. We’re catering to our niche. Community and affordability didn’t exist in Bend. The hostel is a proven business model.

Q: Can you explain the expansion?

A: Maduzia: We have kept the 1910 structure and added the bathhouse, with a locked bike parking area and a storage locker for guest equipment. We’re about to finish the bathhouse, which was designed to look like other turn-of-the-century barns and garages. We plan to add more private rooms after we close on the house next door.

Q: What’s the future of lodging for you?

A: Griggs: People are willing to spend their money on experiences, not things. So you’re going to see more of these kinds of places. We’re looking to expand the concept to the coast. People don’t want to sit in a sterile environment. We get about 70% of our bookings direct, the rest from third-party online platforms. We don’t have to do a lot of marketing. That’s how you know you have a good business idea.

— Reporter: 541-633-2117, sroig@bendbulletin.com

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