Paul and Ashley Stewart fell in love with Atlantic City. Their love brought them to the resort first for vacations and later to become homeowners and members of the business community.
They’re now the owners of Cozy Cohost LLC, a full-service short-term rental operations company.
“It started as just a getaway from our home in Long Island, New York,” Paul Stewart said. “We started coming as tourists every few months and by 2012 and 2013, we really had been going into local businesses and learning so much more about the community. We found a lot of great people who live here!”
In 2018, the couple bought a home in Bungalow Park. By 2020, their business was born and they were full-time residents.
Cozy Cohost provides stress-free management strategies for owners who want to rent out investment or vacation properties in Atlantic City. As of 2023, they had 52 properties to manage and by summer, they expect the number to increase to 70 properties.
“We don’t do much marketing,” Paul Stewart said. “It’s all grown by word of mouth.”
The Stewarts, who initially toured the city by bicycle, got to know their community before they moved here. Today their clients include anyone from out-of-town investors as well as fellow Atlantic City residents and members of the Vietnamese, Indian, and Bangladeshi communities.
“For some, there is a language barrier and they allow us to help when they need to rent a property. That’s where we come in,” Paul Stewart said.
Paul previously worked as a food broker for a nationwide corporate company; Ashley is a former wedding and event designer/ planner who worked with prestigious clients within luxury locations throughout New York.
Within several months of getting settled in and renovating their new vacation residence in Atlantic City themselves, they established Cozy Cohost LLC, a full-service short-term rental operations company.
“There really are a lot of great people here,” Stewart said. “Spending time at local establishments and community events allowed us to learn about the people and get a real sense of Atlantic city as a community.”
Some reasons they liked Atlantic City included the Orange Loop and Little Water Distillery.
“We saw these small businesses coming in to develop and thought that was really cool,” Paul said.
The COVID-19 pandemic was a game-changer for the couple, whose full-time home at the time was still Long Island.
“I told my wife I’m done with New York and Atlantic City is where my heart is at and it’s where I belong. I had a feeling that Atlantic City was where we needed to go in life and I talked my wife into it. We came up with a two-year plan and moved the following year to Atlantic City,” he said.
And while the world around them shut down, Paul and Ashley were riding bikes on the streets and Boardwalk in Atlantic City.
“We were getting to know the area and the neighborhoods and small businesses that were open,” he said. “We were getting to know people on a first-name basis. All the time we were meeting all these great people, so I said let’s move now. Let’s buy a second house. Let’s move in the middle of the pandemic.”
And they did.
The couple has since moved to a new home in North Beach, and still enjoy riding bicycles in their free time.
“Atlantic City is so unique,” Paul Stewart said. “It’s different and I see a lot of positives with it. There’s a potential to blossom. I think we want to be a part of the Atlantic City renaissance. There is plenty of opportunity here and it is a great place to build a business. If you tried to build a business anywhere else, it would be so much harder.