Grayhaven Motel Becomes a Certified Living Wage Employer

For years the only hotel in Ithaca paying a living wage was the Statler on Cornell’s campus. No longer. Now visitors to the area have a more reasonably priced option that they can feel good about patronizing.

Grayhaven Motel, on Elmira Rd., recently achieved Living Wage Certification. This is no small matter. Hotels are typically low-wage employers. The average wage for hotel housekeepers in the Southern Tier, according to Department of Labor statistics, is $11.29. This is not much above the minimum wage ($10.40), but it is well below a living wage ($15.11). The family-owned Grayhaven Motel is setting a new standard for the local hospitality industry, and for its two full-time and one part-time employees.

“At the Grayhaven,” says co-owner Alexis Zaharis Grimm, “we understand the impact our business activities have on our community and the environment and are taking active steps to help manage it.” So they not only committed to pay a living wage, but also to sustainability in a broader sense, including practices to conserve energy, source locally and responsibly, and manage waste with the environment in mind. And Grayhaven offers free 2-week winter residency fellowships to local artists!

So, next time you look for housing for visiting friends or family, consider our newest Certified Living Wage Employer.

The Living Wage in Tompkins County is studied every two years by the Alternatives Federal Credit Union Biennial Living Wage Study. If you are a business or organization who pays at least a Living Wage, you can apply to the Tompkins County Workers’ Center for Certification to recognize your commitment to fair pay for workers. If you have any questions about how your business (or employer) can get certified, contact TCWC at (607) 269-0409 or