What’s happening right now in the Black Lives Matter movement is just a piece of the larger conversation that needs to be happening in this country, according to one local minority business owner.
“It’s a learning opportunity,” said Pamela Loveless, owner of PKL Homes, a short-term apartment rental operator in Reno. “When you have an open dialogue with people, it invites empathy, and it takes away all the confusion.”
Loveless is no stranger to overcoming a challenge.
After years of working as a mortgage professional and traveling underwriter, Loveless was deemed permanently disabled due to double carpal tunnel syndrome.
However, when a judge told her that “no one will ever hire you again because of the percentage of use of your hands that you have. You don’t meet the criteria,” Loveless reflected on her adversity turned opportunity.
She had seen what was lacking in the business travel lodging market, specifically how staying in a hotel for a long period of time can get old fast. She then started her business, PKL.
“My brain works, and my mouth works. There must be something I can do,” she said.
Since starting, PKL has been increasingly growing to serve the demand in the Reno market, even with the ongoing coronavirus impact on the economy.
Reno has had a long history of the same options for temporary workforce lodging: hotels and extended-stay hotels, traditionally with a packet of meal vouchers.
The drawbacks can add up when staying for months in a hotel: absence of a kitchen, lack of community and risk of being located in a food desert.
That’s where PKL comes in.
The short-term housing options PKL offers provide better price points for corporations as well as a better experience for the workers.
“PKL’s dedication to providing the highest-quality workforce housing in Reno has saved me countless hours of coordination, improved the morale of employees and has provided exceptional value to my organization,” said Seth Alexander, project manager of Ames Construction.
Through both their direct booking and Super Host status on Airbnb (with a 4.8-star average and more than 300 stays), they have grown more than 300 percent in gross sales over the past 12 months with eight locations throughout Reno, Sparks, south Reno and Carson City. Their newest location is “Workforce Rental Row” on Dickerson Road.
PKL has worked hard to not only fulfill a need in Reno but provide its signature “wow factor” as well.
It’s about providing people that home-away-from-home experience. In fact, PKL does not hire outside designers. Every space is personalized by Loveless because it’s proven to be a creative outlet that brings her joy.
“However, we do hire locals through Chartwell Staffing Solutions for all our moving, cleaning and repair work,” she said.
More than anything, Loveless sees herself as a longtime member of the Reno community and has been paying attention to what’s been happening with the Black Lives Matter movement locally and beyond.
She has experienced first-hand the false assumptions people make about the nature of her business because of the color of her skin.
“You can’t pigeon-hole someone because of what they look like,” Loveless said.
That’s why this national conversation is so important to have, including in Reno.
“It’s really important that we don’t pull back into our little corners and say, ‘Well, this is my experience, and this is your experience, and they can’t work together,'” Loveless said. “It’s only by having those conversations that things will improve.”