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Bite Me: Nashua, NH Recap

Anthony heads for Nashua, New Hampshire, as part of a convoy of trucks. He's with Bill from A&C Pest Control, going to the 22-room, 23-cabin Country Barn Motel and Camp Ground. The online reviews of the motel refer to the bed bug problem. It has been in business for decades, and its owners Tom, Tim and Dan have run the place since 2007.

Anthony enters the lobby and discovers that the front desk has bars over the front. The FD agent, Sherry, explains that she's the general manager. Anthony tells her to get him a master list, a master key, and meet him outside. Bill and his bed bug-sniffing dog Ozzie are waiting with Anthony, who tells Sherry about how most of their reviews mention bed bugs. Sherry says that the maintenance men use cedar oil, and Bill warns that it only works in direct contact. She's only been working in the hotel business for six months, and says that they have a lot of long-term guests. Some have been there five years. Anthony gets frustrated, gives the master list of empty rooms to Bill, and leaves the exterminator to start while he checks the grounds.

Bill and Ozzie check the first cabin, and Bill can see the bed bugs crawling on the couch. Meanwhile, the sound man, Enrique, picks up Sherry in her office crying and calling Anthony an asshole because he's blaming her for everything. Anthony talks to her and Sherry insists that she's been trying to make the place better but has no one to back her up. He assures her that he wants to help her, and Sherry admits that the motel has gotten better in the last two months since the police haven't had to come as often. SWAT teams have been there and shut down the roads to the motel.

Anthony takes Sherry outside to get some fresh air, and finds a sign saying not to let the bed bugs bite. She says that one of the owners put it up, and agrees with Anthony that it's not funny. Anthony smashes the sign and confirms that Sherry lives there with her family. She explains that after her son was born, he was sick and is in the hospital, and Sherry works at the motel where she can be close to him. She's making $9.50 an hour as GM, and she pays $273 a week to rent a room. Sherry works 60+ hours a week, and she has to work the overtime to cover the rent. Anthony is furious and isn't interested in helping the owners, and asks Sherry what she wants from him. She wants to be proud to work there if it's run like a hotel, and Anthony says that he'll do what he can.

Bill confirms that 50% of the rooms are infested. Anthony meets with one guest, Michelle and her two sons. They confirm that they've been bitten repeatedly, and they're staying because they paid $336 for the week. Anthony promises he'll get them their money back and tells them to wash and heat everything that they own.

A&C heat the rooms using industrial-grade heaters. Once a room is treated, Anthony goes in to inspect it and finds dirty furniture planks falling off of the rafters. There are bloodstains on the mattress and the box spring, and dirt everywhere. The bathtub is covered in mold and people have carved their names in the doorpost.

Next, Anthony checks one of the campground cabins. He calls in Brett Styer, a campground consultant, Brett points out that there's no landscaping, no gravel on the roads, and a lot of deferred maintenance. He figures the cabins are rented out long-term, turning it into a residence rather than a camp ground. They check a cabin and find the TV on a homemade hanger, with coat hangers on it as well. There's food in the sink and a used syringe on top of the refrigerator. The bedroom hasn't been cleaned in months if not years. Brett admits that the cabin is the worst that he's ever seen

The producer spots an owner, Tom, watching from his car. Anthony goes over and tries to stay calm. Tom admits that he didn't put the bed bug sign up, and Anthony sends him into the cabin he and Brett just inspected. The owner comes back and admits that it's gross, and Anthony shows him the syringe. Anthony asks why he's there, and Tom explains that his father converted a farmhouse into the main building. He checked every box when he registered for a permit, including the one for a camp ground. Tom confirms that he, his brother, and his cousin now own the property since his father passed away. He says that he never wanted to be a hotelier, and Anthony assures him that he's not. He lays out all the problems he's seen and accuses Tom of taking advantage of his GM and his guests. Anthony hands him the syringe and says that he's going to meet with all three owners the next day and expects some answers.

The next day, Anthony meets with the three men. Tom confirms that he brought Anthony in, and the cousin Dan says that he didn't want to come because he's heard about Hotel Impossible. Anthony tells them that it's the worst hotel he's ever seen. They don't have an online presence except on Bed Bug Registry, and Tom says that the sign was put up several years ago as a joke. The owne4rs admits that they're not in it for the money, but to keep the family legacy alive. Tim says that they're trying to help down-on-their-luck families and insists that the motel isn't a slum, and Anthony wonders how they can sleep at night given how bad it is. He reads them their advertisement about how people can move in without a security deposit or background check. Tim tries to defend himself, explaining that he's a big landlord in town, but Anthony points out that he checks tenants more thoroughly in apartments. The hotelier says that the problem is the owners, not the guests, and says that they're letting criminals in.

Anthony asks what they want from him, and Tom says that they've been running it like his father did without changing or improving anything. Tim takes offense and insists that he does background checks, but Anthony says that he's not there to embarrass them. He says that they can either ask him to leave, or they can leave, and Tim walks off. Afterward, he talks to the producer and says that he's done more to help people than Anthony has ever done.

Tom and Dan admit that Anthony has opened their eyes, and they want him to provide direction. Anthony says that they're degrading Shelly, and doesn't believe that they empathize with their guests or employees. Anthony tells them to tell him what they plan to commit, in time and resources, to improve the property and then walks out.

Later, Tom and Dan bring in a new swing set and explain to Anthony that while the children are out of the way, they're going to clean up the rest of the property. Impressed with their thoughtfulness, Anthony asks if they're willing to invest money. When they say they'll commit $5,000 a month, Anthony warns them that it won't work. He tells them that they have to spend $200,000 and shut down the place to renovate it. Then a month or two later, they reopen and start to change their reputation. Tom hesitates, saying a lot of people live there, but Anthony insists that it's an unsafe environment and they have no other choice. He demands an immediate answer, and Tom and Dan agree.

Anthony brings in designer Brittany Simon to see one of the cabins. He dumps out the garbage can to reveal syringes inside, Brittany says that she's nothing she can do about that, and Anthony has her check the bedrooms. The bed bunks are wood, which attracts bed bugs. Brittany figures that if she can make it a place that she would stay, it'll be a win. Anthony then sends her to check one of the rooms and then remodel that and a cabin.

While Brittany and a team from Nash Construction go to work, Fletcher's Appliance donates new appliances. While they install a new keycard system, Brett shows Anthony the lack of maintenance on the property grounds. The two men manage to knock over a dead tree with their hands, Brett meets with the owners and says that they have to take care of the place. Brittany tells them to sand down their mismatched furniture and spray the hardware pieces with white paint and latex paint. She shows them one dresser that she's remodeled, and the owners are impressed.

Anthony warns Shelly that he doesn't know if things will change, and asks what has to change for her to stay. She says that she either needs to make more or her rent needs to go down, and Anthony promises that the two of them will have a conversation with Tom. He then gives Shelly two certificates to eCornell, worth $12,000, to take online courses in hotel management. Shelly breaks into tears and thanks him.

On the last day, Brittany thanks Mark and Steve from Nash Construction, and show Shelly and the owners the new room. They've refinished the pine rafters and cleaned up the smell, and put in new linens and appliances. Brittany used white paint to brighten the area and open it up. They then go to the cabin and notice that Brittany has installed a patio with flowers. There's new furniture and bedding, a new paint job, and Shelly says that she's no longer embarrassed to be managing the place. Brittany promises to put together a remodeling guide so they can duplicate the work. The owners commit to continuing Brittany's work.

Anthony sits down with Tom and Shelly, and says that he wants to make sure Shelly is taken care of. He insists that Shelly live rent-free and Tom agrees. He admits that it's his fault and he should have fixed things, and Anthony assures him that he's not a bad person. Anthony wishes them well and leaves.

Afterward, Anthony says that Tim died shortly thereafter in a motorcycle accident. He respects Tim expressing his feelings on network TV, and agreed to make the changes after Anthony left. Anthony offers his condolences to the family.

Written by Gadfly on Sep 14, 2015

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