COO, Urban Cowboy
Jersey Banks, grew up in the Rocky Mountains. Leaving Denver after high school, she attended The New School University in New York City where she studied contemporary dance and began a lifelong love of the city. Like many graduates in the arts, she was a “starving artist”; a professional dancer, by day and “jack of all trades” in the city’s nightlife hospitality workforce by night. Engaging in high profile guest services, hosting events, creating marketing and promotional materials, beverage service, and even “working the door”, she began to notice her discontent with the the practice of exclusivity versus inclusivity in the service industry.
After taking a break from dance and wanting to refine her service experience into something that fed her interests in design, people, and working during daylight hours, she eventually cartwheeled into real estate. She hated it. It did, however, foster the meeting of Lyon Porter, (her soon to be life and business partner). In 2014, they accidentally turned a single-family townhouse located in Brooklyn into a boutique hotel and lifestyle brand, Urban Cowboy Hotels. What started as a passion project became a much-needed antidote to the mind-numbing pace of Manhattan. “The Cowboy” evolved into a community of travelers and artists. Now with 3 properties under their umbrella, the Creative Studio in Brooklyn, their luxury boutique hotel in Nashville, and most recently their nature-retreat in the Catskills.
Soon after opening their first Nashville property and realizing how hot the summers are (and no public pool scene) they bought, gutted, and reimagined a run down 1956 motor lodge in East Nashville. “The Dive Motel and Swim Club” opened this past summer as a 50’s-80’s themed Dive bar, Swim Club and Motel with a literal party switch in every room.
As a co-founder, Jersey’s role with both brands has evolved from the inn-keeper of the mom-&-pop B&B, to overseeing operations across all locations. She is now focused on brand development through experience, merchandise, and design. Jersey is also four months pregnant with her first child… which will certainly be the couple’s largest collaborative project to date!