Next Stop: Oak Island

by Jul 25, 2022Real Estate, South Brunswick, Southport Oak Island

Carolina Panthers player Juston Burris and his wife, Brittany, are bringing their Airbnb business, The Next Stop Collective, to Oak Island.

A passion for traveling has inspired a growing business for Juston and Brittany Burris. The Next Stop Collective is positioned to “be everyone’s next stop when planning their next getaway,” Brittany says. For Brittany and Juston, their next stop is a beach home they are building on Oak Island.

Their venture began in 2019, as an idea based on their travels throughout the state of North Carolina from their home in Charlotte.

“Every year we would go to some of our favorite places,” Brittany says. “It finally clicked that instead of renting other people’s places, why don’t we buy and rent out those homes when we’re not using them?”

They realized quickly that could turn into a business. They launched Next Stop Collective in January 2020, just before the COVID-19 virus was declared a pandemic — an “interesting time to start a new adventure,” Brittany says. Although bookings were virtually non-existent at first, eventually they picked up and the first home listed on Airbnb, located in Asheville, became very popular.

The life venture for Juston and Brittany started long before, when they were both in middle school. They were friends throughout middle and high school and then both attended N.C. State. Juston, who now plays for the Carolina Panthers, was into sports throughout his school years, and Brittany was a cheerleader. They reconnected in college, began dating and were married in 2022.

Juston was born in Roanoke, Virginia, and grew up in Raleigh. He played football for N.C. State University and was then drafted by the New York Jets. Now in his seventh year in the NFL, he has also played with the Cleveland Browns. He and Brittany feel they are lucky to now be based in Charlotte, which they call “Our home and where we always wanted to be.”

Nest Stop Collective NC

Brittany was born and raised in Raleigh. At N.C. State, she earned degrees in business administration, including an MBA. Her background and education led her to a career in business operations and marketing in corporate America. She just recently left that path to focus on running the day-to-day operations of the Next Stop Collective full time.

Both Juston and Brittany see the business as a plan for their future, beyond football. They are passionate about it, just as they are passionate about offering quality vacation rentals for families who enjoy traveling and visiting the same places they love.

One of their favorite places to visit is Oak Island. Brittany grew up going to N.C. beaches, and Oak Island was always a favorite quiet beach town. Recently, friends bought a house there, and the Burrises have spent a couple of weekends visiting and taking in the new look and feel of Oak Island as well as neighboring Southport.

While the area has grown some since her childhood, Brittany still enjoys the beach atmosphere and the amazing views. “When we go, we always go to downtown Southport,” Brittany says. They also enjoy grabbing a cup of coffee or a meal at a local restaurant on Oak Island, such as Island Jo’s or Koko Cabana.

Brittany emphasizes that the most valuable time is spent with family and friends at the house. There is most definitely something to having the comfort of home, with views of the ocean, the beach and the sunsets.

These influences are a big part of what has made Oak Island the next stop for The Next Stop Collective.

The first stop for the Airbnb venture was in Asheville. Juston and Brittany purchased a home there to launch their business in early 2020. Once those bookings started to pick up after the initial pandemic-related slow period, the rentals were thriving. Another home on the same street became available in 2021, and they purchased it as well. “From there we kind of became obsessed with it,” Brittany says. The two homes in Asheville were doing so well, they decided to expand into different areas.

In fact, they have expanded into a different state. A third home is planned to go live on Airbnb this summer in Wintergreen, Virginia. That house required a full renovation, so they have gutted and completely redone the home to get it ready for vacation rentals.

A fourth home, in Boone, North Carolina, will “hopefully be live at the end of the year,” Brittany says. That one also required a full home renovation. Juston and Brittany are facing more challenges with their business, particularly in regard to the renovation work that needs to be done on these two latest homes. Between material shortages and labor shortages, the work is slow, but they are confident they will meet their projected timelines for opening.

Burris Family Oak Island NC

When searching for the Oak Island home that would become their next rental, they faced the challenges of houses not being available or not being exactly what they wanted. “It’s not like purchasing your primary home,” Brittany says. “For this type of business, you’re trying to assess how close it is to certain things, what the rental income might be, and the key points that guests are looking for.” In addition, she says they are also looking for a home their own families can enjoy when it is not rented.

The Burrises finally decided to purchase a piece of land on Oak Island and build a beach home based on their own plans, so they can make it what they want it to be.

They have closed on the land and are now working with an architect and a contractor on those plans. They bought on the west end, a secluded, quiet and peaceful area with sound and ocean views. “Once we saw that, we knew that was where we wanted to be,” Brittany says. “We are very happy with our decision.”

The beach house will have seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms, along with a pool, an elevator and a rooftop deck. It will be available for weekly rentals during the prime months from Memorial Day to Labor Day and for a minimum three-night stay during the off season. Their goal is “to be the most sought-after beach house on the island.” They are working on their design plans to bring a feel that will be similar to the Hamptons or Charleston.

Juston and Brittany have managed their current rental homes so successfully that they are now Airbnb Superhosts. The Superhost is a vacation rental owner “who goes above and beyond in their hosting duties and is a shining example of how a Host should be.” They are ready to do more than set an example as they expand their offerings to also provide services to other Airbnb hosts. They will share things that they’ve learned in the process, to help others get ready to list.

Part of their additional portfolio of services will include Airbnb 101, a digital course on preparing a home for rental. Both Juston and Brittany say they have an eye for design and may eventually create a design line of their own as well.

The Next Stop Collective Oak Island NC

Although Juston “will play football as long as God lets him,” his goal is to have the business running well so that he can join Brittany in taking it on full time at some point. Empowering others through their additional business offerings and through community involvement is very important to him. He is passionate about giving back to the community and has been active in organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, HeCan Football Camp, Dream the Impossible initiative, Simple Greatness and North Carolina Vitiligo Support Community.

The Next Stop Collective is headed in a promising direction on Airbnb as part of a national trend toward private vacation rental homes.

More than 350 million nights were booked through Airbnb in 2021, up significantly from just over 250 million in 2020. Families seem to appreciate the extra space and, in particular, the ability to have separate rooms with doors that close. As Brittany describes it, there is a “difference in quality, a home away from home feel.”

Soon, the beach house on Oak Island will be the next stop on the continuing adventure for Juston and Brittany Burris and The Next Stop Collective.

Photography by Matt McGraw

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