Opening the Doors: Hotelier Drucella Perkins’ life leads from East Coast back home to Southeast Missouri

By Amanda Flinn

Photo by Aaron Eisenhauer

As a young girl growing up in Southeast Missouri, Drucella Perkins, née Robinson, helped with the laundry while daydreaming about a life in the big city. She loved her farming family, but she also loved fashion and design. And when it came to Green Acres characters, she was more into stores like Lisa than chores like Oliver. 

The seventh of 12 children, and only one of three girls, Perkins learned early how to be hospitable and care for others. In the morning, she would help her mother prepare a hot lunch of fried chicken, peas, peach cobbler and cornbread and then drive it to her dad and brothers who left early to work on the farm. It was through the daily life of gardening, cooking and cleaning that she developed a rich heritage of faith, family and community values. 

“There were like a thousand people in our family,” Perkins says. “We all had a twin cousin, which meant extra siblings. We farmed together, harvested together. Played in the wheat trucks. My dad was always hulling peas, putting up green beans. There was cracklin [frying] outside. My mother churned butter. I enjoyed my childhood.”

In middle school, Perkins became a cheerleader, a love that stayed with her through college, where she earned a degree in fashion merchandising and met her husband Carl Perkins. It was his role in the military that led them to the East Coast, where Perkins hoped to become a buyer with The May Department Stores Company, only to find out the process was more grueling than she knew and the starting pay far less than she expected. 

While her dreams of becoming a buyer never worked out, throughout the next 20 years, Perkins held several prestigious jobs across multiple companies, which taught her computer skills, standards tracking and configuration management. On top of that, Perkins became a mother of three, a role she adored. And not long after her third child was born, she opened an interior design company, D&R Designs, with her aunt Rose. 

“I don’t know if I’d look back and say my life has been overly exciting, but it’s definitely been God-led,” says Perkins, who knew God was working all things for good. What she didn’t know was the plan to eventually bring her back home to her roots, to farming, to family. 

Photo by Aaron Eisenhauer

In 2014, just two years after her dad Jerome Robinson passed away, Perkins remembers feeling unsettled with a heaviness about leading the next generation. She remembers crying out to God, and felt God’s response begin to challenge and change the trajectory of her life: “You’re gonna open a hotel.”

While the words didn’t make sense, Perkins kept moving forward. She paid attention to the work of the Holy Spirit and when told to take action, she did. 

“I’ve always had the personality of being a risk-taker,” Perkins says. “Not necessarily being bold, but I’m observant. I’m visual. I’ll leap in. If the Lord says, ‘Go, do this,’ I’m gonna do it.”

Throughout the next seven years, Perkins remained on the East Coast, working the design business, volunteering at her church and raising her kids with Carl. She did not forget what God said. 

And in 2021, upon returning to Southeast Missouri for a friend’s wedding, God began to reveal plans for the hotel, starting with land in Cape Girardeau County, a place that had been on and off the market for 10 years. In a turn of events she feels only God could orchestrate, Perkins saw the 95-acre property before boarding a plane home to Virginia. She knew God was leading her there, but couldn’t do it alone. She needed to get her siblings on board. 

Through conversations with one, then two, then five siblings, the vision was cast. Wanting to continue their parents’ farming legacy and impact the next generation, they purchased the land and began making plans for the cottage, the barn and the home that sat on the property. Roles were assigned to each sibling based on their strengths, gifts and talents. Finances were laid out. And through a roller coaster of unknown variables and outcomes, they persisted together, 12 strong. 

Photo by Aaron Eisenhauer

Perkins recalls a conversation between her dad and sister, Janice, that continues to impact her to this day. Handing one match to her sister, he asked her to break it. She did so with ease. Then he handed her two matches. Same thing. He continued adding matches and she continued breaking them, though the more matches he added, the more difficult it became. By the time Janice got to 12 matches, she understood his point: “These matches represent you and your siblings. I need you to stick together. You do that, and nothing will break you.”

Over the course of two years, the siblings created Robinson Farms NXTGEN, a boutique hotel and indoor/outdoor venue for small and large events. It’s a multi-purpose site built on the foundation of third-generation farmers. Perkins believes this will be a space for families and friends to gather, reconnect and make memories. 

“When the Bible says nothing will go unused, believe it,” says Perkins of her work. “Every aspect of my life is being used in service. My background in design. My work in the field of computers and communications. My experience with high-level marketing executives. All the stuff I learned from helping my mother in the kitchen. I didn’t know the plan, but God did.”


  • Demetrious Robinson
    Awesome Article proud of Our CEO and Sister Drucella Perkins. Article well written and inspiring 👏
  • Evelyn Hunt
    Great article Dru! So proud of you& what you're doing!!
  • Jessica Robinson
    Wonderful!!! So proud of all you have accomplished Drucella!