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New owners of historic hotel/restaurant look beyond pandemic

On Monday, the historic Chambers Hotel in Apollo will reopen, along with other restaurants in the area, after COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the state are set to expire.

Jennifer and Wally Seniow know they have challenges ahead of them as the new owners of the Chambers Hotel, which dates to 1889.

“In the beginning we told each other, no matter how hard it gets for the process, we are not going to give up,” Jennifer said.

The couple, who are newlyweds — fulfilled a dream of buying the hotel in November — then were faced with a mandatory shutdown.

“Oh yeah, everyone thought we were crazy. Yeah, I still think they think we’re crazy,” Wally said. “Like I said before, it’s never really a good time to buy a bar. This is probably the worst time to buy a bar.”

The Seniows are pushing forward and will reopen for indoor dining at 25% capacity on Monday, when Gov. Tom Wolf’s 3-week mitigation order expires.

“That’s just not enough to keep us running. You know it really isn’t. We’re doing what we can right now to make it happen,” Wally said.

In the meantime, the couple is trying to make ends meet renting out hotel rooms and has plans to renovate them.

Wally will continue working full time at his manufacturing job while they both run the business.

“Eventually, hopefully we’re going to get bands and DJs and stuff like that in the room in the back. But we can’t do it now with 25%,” he said.

Jennifer said that with proper social distancing and sanitizing, “I feel like it is a safe place here.”