Press Release

Shepherd Hotels and Avocet Hospitality Partner to Launch the first Shepherd Hotel in Clemson, SC

Shepherd Hotels, a boutique hotel development and hospitality group aimed at increasing the employment futures of individuals with intellectual disabilities in the hospitality industry, is collaborating with Avocet Hospitality of Charleston, South Carolina to open the first Shepherd Hotel in Downtown Clemson, South Carolina.

The Shepherd Hotel will offer guests an upscale experience through the hotel’s uplifting design, the Delish Sisters restaurant, “tasty food made with love,” the elegant indoor/outdoor Thomas Bar overlooking College Avenue, and the hotel’s rooftop event space.

“This partnership with Avocet Hospitality allows our current one hotel concept to leverage a deeply talented hospitality organization that shares our values,” says Rick Hayduck, Shepherd Hotels Co-founder. “With Avocet’s help, The Shepherd Hotel will deliver an upscale, inspirational lodging and dining option to the Clemson community that welcomes visitors from all over the country.”

Avocet Hospitality, owner/operator of the nationally recognized Vendue Hotel in Charleston, South Carolina has taken an investment position in The Shepherd Hotel, Downtown Clemson, a new-build, 67-room upscale hotel on College Avenue. Avocet will assist with pre-opening and ongoing hotel and restaurant operations.

Both organizations share a commitment to the Clemson community and the desire to decrease the extraordinarily high unemployment rate for people with disabilities. “We could not be more excited to work with the co-founders of Shepherd Hotels, Rick Hayduk and Rich Davies as well as the entire Shepherd Hotel team to bring this purpose-driven hotel to life. One of our core beliefs is that a hotel must tell a story and be authentic. Nothing is more authentic than providing real and lasting employment opportunities for people with disabilities.” adds Jon Weitz, Founder and President of Avocet Hospitality.

The Shepherd Hotel, Downtown Clemson is expected to employ over 40 individuals with intellectual disabilities between the hotel and restaurant operations constituting about 40% of the total hospitality team. Students and alumni of ClemsonLIFE™, a program at Clemson University that prepares young men and women with intellectual disabilities for competitive employment and independent living, will use the hotel as both a training site and a long-term employment opportunity. The hotel is expected to open in Spring 2022.