Meet Our Owner – Donna Winner
Donna Winner and her late husband Jim both began life on simple Mercer County, PA dairy farms. From those roots of hard work and commitment came two people driven to succeed. Known globally for his creation of “The Club” anti-theft device, Jim Winner was the consummate entrepreneur. Donna, likewise, was very business-savvy and has the distinction of being the first female stockbroker in Western PA.
With a passion for saving historic landmarks, the Winners started in the hospitality business in 1979 when they purchased the Shenango Inn, a 72-room Colonial hotel. The hotel was featured in Norm Simpson’s “Country Inns and Back Roads”, the forerunner of the prestigious collection of inns now known as Select Registry.
The Winners sold the Shenango Inn and purchased an abandoned 1854 building in Clark, PA that would, after two years of renovation, open in June 1986 as Tara – A Country Inn. After adding two wings to the Greek Revival mansion Tara now has 27 deluxe guestrooms, casual and gourmet dining, indoor and outdoor pools, banquet facilities, elegant gardens and offers public tours.
In 1996, Jim and Donna Winner saved another neglected landmark, Buhl Mansion. With a multi-million-dollar restoration the 1890s stone “castle,” listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is now one of the most romantic inns in America. Buhl Mansion Guesthouse & Spa offers ten stunning guestrooms, beautiful gardens fit for fairytale castle weddings and a full-service spa with over 100 indulgent and rejuvenating treatments.
We lost Jim Winner in 2010, but his legacy lives on. Other Winner companies include Donna’s Dinner, The Winner woman’s fashion store, Hampton Inn & Suites, Park Inn by Radisson, Tiffany’s Banquet Centre, Winner International (The Club), and several other entities in the Sharon area. Through it all the family has given back to the community that they call home: the Winner Foundation has remained an anchor of philanthropy in the Shenango Valley.
Meet Our General Manager – Laura Ackley
Laura began her career in the travel and hospitality industry during high school working for her Aunt Donna and Uncle Jim Winner at the Shenango Inn. After college she helped with the renovation and opening of Tara – A Country Inn then spent several years in Michigan working as a sales manager in hotel and travel agencies. She returned to Sharon, PA and the family business in 2003. In addition to her duties as the General Manager of Buhl Mansion Guesthouse & Spa, she is the General Manager for Donna’s Diner and the marketing director for those properties and Tara – A Country Inn.