By Mark F. Gray, Staff Writer, [email protected]
On a small parcel of land in southern Prince George’s County the Nelson Manor represents a collaborative transition from a lifetime of memories into a flourishing African American family owned business. Tarus and Yolanda Nelson have turned their empty nest into a luxury vacation rental property which they hope make guests feel like they’re at home after opening its doors of hospitality to family and friends for years.
The transformation of the property and the collaboration into its next lifetime symbolizes where family strength and communication can lead to the genesis of a business enterprise. Their emotional attachment and commitment to each other has opened doors to give the Nelson Manor its entrepreneurial facelift while remaining committed to the community based foundation that benefits the County’s youth.
In 2011 the Nelson’s launched Strive 2 Tri, a 501c3 non-profit program that trains at risk youth to become triathletes. The signature event is the Splash and Dash which is a 100-200 meter swim followed by a 1-2K run. It also has certified young Black swimmers as lifeguards who work at various pools throughout Prince George’s County.
“After 21 years together, we recognize our strengths and weaknesses as individuals,” Yolanda tells the AFRO. “In those moments where we disconnect, it’s important to step back and stay in [our] lane while maintaining a respect for each other and remembering there are always different ways of getting things done.”
As full time professional parents with a vision for life after the empty nest the Nelson’s developed their game plan. Yolanda was a professional educator in the Prince George’s County Public School System for over two decades. Tarus, a disabled military veteran who served in the U.S. Army, worked as an IT specialist while raising two children on the property. Tarus, Jr. followed in dad’s military footsteps serving in the U.S. Air Force while Asia is a sophomore at Bowie State majoring in business management.
Those professional skills sets have blended seamlessly as they transitioned into full-time business people and hands on parents. Yolanda is the marketing face of the company who serves as the “innkeeper” while Tarus generates new business. Their children experienced the transition from the inside and inspired Asia’s choice of major in college, so the future management of the Manor is being developed in the County.
Before a major renovation, which turned their single family home into an elegant revenue stream, it was a hub of social activity and a part time sanctuary for family members in transition or time of need. The Nelson’s neighborly spirit made their home a gathering spot for holiday parties and summer cookouts among other personal events. It also became the genesis for their home’s seamless transition.
From 2014-2017 each floor was refurbished that created revenue streams. The Nelson’s purged family heirlooms and released their emotional attachment to inanimate objects such as Tarus’ Harley Davidson motorcycle.
Their sacrifices were painstaking as they were creative with finances and disciplined to avoid excessive spending. For more than a decade there were no extravagant purchases or vacations as they agreed upon a conscious financial commitment to massive renovations. The property systematically transformed from a spacious single family dwelling into a versatile venue that hosts extended stay guests and intimate gatherings such as weddings and dinner parties.
“It takes a lot of communication, flexibility, and communication because there’s a lot of moving parts,” Yolanda says.
The Nelson Manor Airbnb enterprise remains one of the best kept secrets in Prince George’s County for the time being. However, the Nelson’s are hoping to cut that corporate umbilical cord shortly for another family oriented business collaboration.