January 30, 2018
Posted By Jason Patton
Following a successful career as a communications, marketing, and business development executive in cities from New York to Atlanta, Vikki established The Grodner Group, a strategic marketing and event management firm, in 2007. The Grodner Group works with corporations, small businesses, educational institutions, government entities and not for profit groups to meet their organizational objectives through strategic planning and implementation. Her husband Ken joined The Grodner Group in 2017 to expand the firm’s service offerings to include large-scale project management.
Two years ago, they made a conscious decision to move to Tuscaloosa, where they had first met as undergraduate students at the University of Alabama. Upon arriving in town, Vikki developed her latest project, The Wanderlust Life. Through this initiative, she invests in real estate and then uses social media to crowdsource design decisions. Followers can watch online as the properties are being renovated and, upon their completion, ultimately can stay in them through short-term rental. The first property is in downtown Tuscaloosa, the second in Panama City Beach and the third in Birmingham’s Forest Park South Avondale historic district.
During the process of building this lifestyle brand, Vikki provided firsthand knowledge on short-term rentals to elected officials and staff as the City of Tuscaloosa established their short-term rental ordinance. She also established the Tuscaloosa Hospitality Network, an advocacy group for short-term rental in the city, representing over 100 properties. Further, she earned her real estate license and is currently with Keller Williams Tuscaloosa, specializing in historic district properties and short-term rentals.
Ashley Crites is the Associate Director of Planning within the Office of Urban Development for the City of Tuscaloosa and was instrumental in the process of developing the recommended policy for short-term rentals in Tuscaloosa. She holds a BS in Public Administration from Missouri State University and has a Master of Urban Planning Degree from the University of Kansas, where she specialized in Land Use Planning and Urban Design.