Tourism down in Lexington, home of infamous Red Hen Restaurant

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Actions have consequences.

Lexington, Virginia is learning that lesson.

Lexington is the home of The Red Hen Restaurant where, last June, the owner,  Stephanie Wilkinson, refused to serve White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and her in-laws because of President Trump’s policy on illegal border-crossers.

Wilkinson was so unhinged that she actually followed Sanders’ in-laws to another restaurant and staged a protest outside while the in-laws — who, irony of irony, are Democrats — were dining.

Alison Graham reports for The Roanoke Times, Sept. 2, 2018, that Rockbridge Regional Tourism is comprised of Lexington, Buena Vista and Rockbridge County, with Lexington bringing in the largest number of tourists.

Last Thursday, the Rockbridge Regional Tourism (RRT) board met with the Lexington City Council to discuss tourism initiatives and numbers. Evidently, the tourism numbers are bad because the board approved a recovery plan to use emergency funds to boost its marketing and spread positive messages of the area, especially Lexington, to combat the slew of negative national media coverage because of The Red Hen restaurant.

The RRT receives 0.8% of the lodging and meals tax collected from each locality. About 20% of its annual $800,000 budget is put into a reserve for emergencies, which is usually saved. But the RRT board agreed the region is in desperate need of positive coverage after The Red Hen incident. The plan is to spend an additional $5,000 per month from July through September to boost the region’s image.

RRT’s Director of Marketing Patty Williams said the area is still feeling effects from “the controversy”. During the immediate aftermath of the Red Hen incident, the tourism office received thousands of phone calls and emails. Last Thursday, the RRT received a letter from a family in Georgia who said they would never come back to the area because of what happened. “For a town our size, it was a significant impact,” Williams said.

The tourism office also decided to conduct a perceptions survey in its top four markets — Roanoke, Richmond, Norfolk and Washington, D.C. The office is working with a survey company to find frequent travelers living in those areas to answer questions about whether they recall the incident, where it took place and whether it would affect their decision to travel there. A total of 400 people will be surveyed.

Williams said the responses to the survey will help indicate where marketing money should be spent and what kind of messages need to be sent out: “We would certainly try to portray ourselves as a friendly, welcoming place. And focus our marketing toward accomplishing that goal.” RRT has a new video in the works that will feature that message.

The Red Hen Restaurant, at 11 E Washington St, Lexington, VA 24450, was closed for two weeks after its owner’s disgraceful treatment of Sarah Sanders. It is re-opened; the hours are Wed-Sat 5 pm to 9:30 pm.

In the 2016 presidential election, Lexington, population 7,000, voted overwhelmingly against Trump, in contrast to Rockbridge County (Lexington is the county seat) which voted for Trump 65.57% – 34.44% (Virginia Department of Elections).

See also “Lexington businesses denounce Red Hen owner Stephanie Wilkinson“.

H/t FOTM readers CSM & Disgusted.


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25 responses to “Tourism down in Lexington, home of infamous Red Hen Restaurant

  1. Hope Stephanie is proud of herself for personally being responsible for the decline in tourism. Bad, bad womyn…

  2. Yeah, in typical fashion she essentially used SOMEBODY ELSE’S money to pay for her “protest”. Nice work Stephie.

  3. Yet more proof that leftist morons don’t care how much damage they cause, as long as they can have their way and vent their spleen. Hopefully Wilkinson will go totally bankrupt soon!

  4. Kevin J Lankford

    Don’t suppose it will occur to them that it is their own views and politics that are just plain wrong, and are what is destroying what made the U.S. A. great to start with. Instead of being a destination and pinnacle for tourists and tourism, they would make it a waste land for the dregs of humanity.

  5. I’m from one of those cities in VA they plan to pole.
    They can get my answers here.
    I don’t have anything against Lexington.
    But you can bet you gluitus maximas I won’t step foot in that flaming liberal progressive restaurant, especially knowing it is owned by a mentally ill homosexual and is staffed with any number of other homosexuals. Who knows what you could catch there. Likewise when I go to any other establishment, I like to look around a get a feel for if I am supporting idiots like these. First whiff I get I’m out of there. And if Lexington wants to do something to increase tourism they should encourage this broad and people like her to KEEP THEIR MOUTHS SHUT and keep her political opinions out of the marketplace. They can plot their madness amongst their friends. But don’t serve it to me for dinner.
    And shame on the Red hen for denying service. Some inclusiveness and tolerance. Hypocrite.
    That’s one strike Lexington. Three strikes and you’re out.

  6. Personally, I do prefer these ignorant, self-absorbed lefties to show themselves so I can readily avoid their presence.

    I absolutely DO NOT want to patronize ANY establishment that so vehemently despises my personal point of view.

  7. I wish all the leftists would adorn their places with a symbol, so that we could avoid them….let it be that pink hat that they wear so proudly. I promise to stay far away from them with my family and my wallet.

  8. Lexington is a lovely town, and we have enjoyed mini-vacations there. We’ve also made a point to stop there, even when passing through. If I can somehow find a way to support the outlying areas and avoid any of my money going to Lexington, I will do so. Otherwise, my family is prepared to avoid the whole area. This woman should be legally bound to pay for all the expenses she has caused the township and outlying areas. Many businesses have been affected by her stupid, stupid, unpatriotic and uncivil actions.

  9. I am going to visit the Red Hen, order a bunch of food, get up to use the bathroom, clog their toilet up and deliberately overflow it, lock the door to the bathroom on my way out, and leave the sythole without paying my bill.

  10. I knew they would be going down fast. If you own a business stay away from politics, their stupid fanatism sure caused them their downfall. They will regret it all their lives.

  11. Personally, I have no intention of going near Lexington, VA while on my way south this coming fall. While my family and I have stayed in the Lexington area in the past (it’s a great location about halfway to our destination), I am going to do some serious investigation into alternatives locations for our stopover. The people of Lexington will have to take care of their own without the assistance of my family’s contributions to the local business.

  12. It doesn’t sound like the Red Hen is too much in demand even for the locals. They are open for 4-1/2 hours, four days a week; how do they stay in business?

    These clowns who are so eaten up with TDS should be shunned and scorned at every opportunity. Run them out of town! Then shutter the windows of the business and put up a sign saying, “Liberals destroy everything they touch”.

    • I was wondering the same thing! How DO they stay in business being open 4.5 hours a day for 4 days a week?! Most local restaurants in my area are open a MINIMUM of 5 or 6 days a week for 10-12 hours on business days.

  13. the Dead Hen.

  14. They need a sickle and hammer on their sign “The Little RED Hen”. I still like the idea of Trump buying it and presenting it to Sarah Sanders as a thank you present. She can turn it into a gun store.

  15. I’m THRILLED to see this-yes! Unfortunately, many innocent people have been hurt because of one person’s stupidity…

  16. Ahhhh, these stupid pussy hat idiots should go out of business! Remember C.S. Lewis’s THE ABOLITION OF MAN? Obviously these two men have no chests!

  17. So the Red Hen really laid and egg.

    Who didn’t see this coming?

  18. Folks,

    THIS is the sort of thing we must do against the left and all those who support them! Remember how companies, in an effort to distance themselves from the NRA, dropped their discounts to NRA members? We must PUNISH them-hopefully to the point of insolvency. We must do this to Nike, who made Colin Kaepernick their spokesman. I could go on, but you get my point. We have the economic muscle, because WE are the ones who work, save, and invest; we’re the ones who have the power here. We need to USE IT


  19. Enjoyed all the comments, so far. Spot on. This just amazes me. So they receive — “…………thousands of phone calls and emails. Last Thursday, …………….a family in Georgia who said they would never come back to the area because of what happened” — and plan to — “…….. survey in its top four markets — Roanoke, Richmond, Norfolk and Washington, D.C. A total of 400 people will be surveyed.” — JUST 400 PEOPLE, basically local at that, out of thousands that complained. No wonder surveys aren’t worth the resources it takes to do them. This whole area has millions of people living in and around it. Just 400 out of millions and this will not even begin to touch those who travel through this area. This just strikes me as totally insane.


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