Looking for a place to hang out while you’re in town for service? If so, stop in and be our guest at the Tiffin Hospitality Center! The center is located in a historic, downtown storefront in Red Bay, Alabama, home of Tiffin Motorhomes. It’s open from 7 am to 3 pm, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
Sheri Farris manages the Tiffin Hospitality Center. And while she’s actually not a hospitality center “feature,” she kind of is. People arrive at the lounge as strangers, and leave as friends of Sheri’s. Tiffin RV owner Sharon Beck wrote — simply but succinctly — “Sheri is awesome.”
In another Facebook review, Micky Dixon, a Tiffin RV owner, recommended the hospitality center, Sheri, and even her husband Jody. “Visit Sheri and Jody,” she wrote. “Then hang out with other RVers, work on your computers, read, or shop. Come with food and relaxation, leave with new friends!”
A native of north Mississippi, Sheri has spent most of her adult life in Red Bay. “I was imported in as all fine goods are, honey,” she said. Her husband Jody is from the small Alabama town where Tiffin is headquartered, and he’s the reason Sheri landed where she landed.
Sheri grew up on a catfish farm, and her journey — fueled by an obscene and enviable amount of energy — has afforded her many experiences. Before she became manager of the Tiffin Hospitality Center, Sheri owned the Mason Jar, a local, downtown restaurant. And it’s this downtown space that’s now occupied by the hospitality center.
In fact, Lex Tiffin saw a need for a place where Tiffin RV owners could hang out and relax while their RVs were being serviced. This need was heightened by the pandemic. RV owners needed a “homebase” while in town, but the space would also need to allow for social distancing and other safety precautions. At the same time, Sheri was looking to move on from the restaurant business and sell her building.
As fate would have it — and with the law of supply and demand in play — the result was the Tiffin Hospitality Center, a Tiffin addition that has quickly become a popular amenity and defining feature of the Red Bay experience.
What’s available at the Tiffin Hospitality Center?
The quaint gift shop and lounge area is a haven for visitors in Red Bay who travel to Tiffin’s headquarters for RV service. But the lounge is also open to the public. Pop in to purchase or browse Tiffin merch, local artisanal goods, or grab a coffee or soda and stay awhile. There’s seating throughout the space, indoor and outdoor, and the center has now expanded to include two lounge areas: one is pet friendly, while the other is pet free.
Sheri said often visitors will use the center as their homebase. Many tend to start their day at the lounge, sit and chat with other RV owners, mix and mingle. They’ll head out to lunch and ramble around town for a bit and then they’re back. The Red Bay Yacht Club is a popular breakfast, lunch, and dinner spot for many Tiffin RV owners, while the local Piggly Wiggly is known for its fresh-baked doughnuts.
The lounge offers free wifi, so RV owners who work fulltime and remotely will often use the lounge as their office for the day. In addition to the lounge’s tables and chairs, there are also two huge, antique benches, both over 100 years old. And a popular seating area among Tiffin guests is in the storefront window. It’s furnished with rattan chairs and plush cushions where visitors can kick back and people watch.
About the Merch
Where there is merch, there shall also be shopping. Tiffin RV owners can stock up on Tiffin-branded apparel while they’re in town. Plus, there’s a fun and authentic selection of locally and regionally made items from Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
Popular apparel brands currently in stock include Charles Rivers shirts, for men and women, Calloway apparel, jackets and caps by Columbia, and shirts and rain jackets by Dri Duck.
Local items range from Zkano socks, a Fort Payne, Alabama, brand known for its organic cotton to Nelson Pottery’s funky, original Ug Chugs, handcrafted in Cullman, Alabama. Golden Eagle, an Alabama company who made its name on their sought-after syrup, also makes fun tees featuring the Golden Eagle logo, which the Hospitality Center has in stock. You can also get your quintessential southern fix with Moonpie wearables.
Plus, visitors can check out Comfort Colors t-shirts in long and short sleeves. And there’s a new original, showcase tee design on its way featuring Bellingrath Gardens in Mobile, Alabama.
If you have questions about merchandise in stock, give the Hospitality Center a call at (938) 223-7023.
About the Vibe
The space Tiffin’s Hospitality Center occupies was once a classic, old-fashioned drug store. Tiffin, along with Sheri’s sharp eye for interior design, have honored that legacy by decorating the center with details that are reminiscent of those traditional, small-town gathering places. There’s a long counter, and behind the counter, there’s a mirror that mimics the old drug-store-style mirrors featuring etched images and designs.
Pendant light fixtures hang from the room’s tall ceilings. Pristine white shelving displays large jars of all types of candy from old-school peppermint and Root Beer Barrels to Tootsie Rolls and Twizzlers. The lounge is furnished with televisions in both the pet-free space and the pet-friendly space. Usually guests find Hollywood classics like the Andy Griffin Show or the Beverly Hillbillies. The floors are alternating blocks of gray and black tiles, and there’s exposed brick walls throughout the space displaying prints and artwork celebrating Red Bay and the area’s local favorites.
“We want our guests to walk in this door, be happy, get a handful of candy, and forget their problems,” Sheri says. “There’s no reason we’re not going to take care of our people, and make sure each of our guests has a good day with us.”
You can keep up with what’s new at the Tiffin Hospitality Center by following its dedicated Facebook page. Or give Sheri and the team a call at (938) 223-7023.