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Local Duo Certain That It’s Time for a Hostel in Grand Rapids




Local Duo Certain That It’s Time for a Hostel in Grand Rapids

Co-founders of Stay Hostel use their past to gain new perspective on future and give their project a full-fledged attempt through crowdfunding


GRAND RAPIDS, MI -- After putting their project on hold, Matt Knaack and Tom Damitio are giving Stay Hostel another go. This time, the pair will be choosing a for-profit model and, on April 15, they will be launching a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. A successful campaign will give the team enough capital to finally ignite their idea of bringing a hostel to Grand Rapids.


Back in September 2012, MLive published an article focusing on a pair of “young entrepreneurs”--Knaack and Damitio. These two twentysomethings wanted to open a hostel in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and believed that a nonprofit model would be best. Unfortunately, during this initial pursuit, the realization that they had bitten off more than they could chew happened all too soon. The hoops were too unforgiving for individuals that possessed no experience in the legalities of the nonprofit world. So, the two discontinued their endeavor, announcing a hiatus on the project’s website in July 2013.


Months later, Emily K. Wolman of Lonely Planet wrote, “[T]here’s a lot to love about western Michigan this year.” With this line, she immediately caught the attention of many Grand Rapidians, including Knaack and Damitio. Wolman’s praise went even further, naming Grand Rapids the top travel destination in the country for this year. It was while reading Wolman’s article that the two were stung by an urgent need to resuscitate their project.


Knaack admitted, “It’s tough to ignore a moment when you drop the ball like that. We had the foresight, we were ahead of the game, and we didn’t know it.” Damitio added, saying, “The decision to sideline Stay Hostel was tough, but it took some major weight off both of our shoulders.” Even so, the urge for revival was too impossible to deny. Soon after the Lonely Planet article was published, Knaack began preparing by polishing the work he and Damitio had already done. Those preparations have gotten Stay Hostel ready to make another attempt at becoming a reality, beginning on April 15.


About Stay Hostel: The mentality behind Stay Hostel is simple: Fulfilling travel should be both safe and inexpensive. Without a hostel in Grand Rapids, many travelers cannot find an inexpensive alternative to standard accommodations. This is the gap that Stay Hostel will fill upon opening its doors. For more information, find Stay Hostel on Facebook, follow @stayhostelgr on Twitter, or visit


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