The corporate and leisure travel business is not very relaxing, as Jodi Hersh could attest. The executive consultant of Wood Hew Travel said she works tirelessly, 24 hours a day and seven days a week, to help ensure that the 44-year-old family venture, a division of Hewlett-based Tzell Travel Group, remains in business.
Wood Hew Travel, founded by Hersh’s parents, Miki and Buddy Owen, first opened its doors on Broadway in Woodmere in 1973. The business moved to Central Avenue in Woodmere about 20 years ago, Hersh said, and is now at 1209 Broadway.
“It was a landmark in the Five Towns,” Jodi’s husband, Danny Hersh, said of Wood Hew Travel, a name derived from Woodmere and Hewlett. “It’s the same name for 40 years.”
Jodi has worked in her family’s business since 1985. Before that, she ran a vitamin company with a good friend upon graduation from State University of New York at Delhi. She said that she has had many clients work with her from the time she first started and estimates more than 200 longtime customers between both corporate and leisure travel.
“Sometimes you’re a victim of your own success,” Hersh said of her work. She has a home office and even a traveling office. Danny said that when they travel to Puerto Rico, Jodi’s favorite destination, she works at a makeshift office by the pool of the Ritz Carlton, consisting of lounge chairs and umbrellas.
Hersh is practically a lifelong resident of the Five Towns. Her family moved to North Woodmere from Roosevelt when she was 10. She attended Hewlett-Woodmere schools — Ogden Elementary School, Woodmere Junior High School North, which is now Woodmere Middle School, and graduated from Hewlett High School in 1975.
After her parents retired to Florida, Hersh officially took over Wood Hew Travel in 2005, the same year it moved to its current location on Broadway.
Andrea Polsky has worked with Hersh for about 26 years. She said that Hersh “is a friend, not just a travel agent” because she is always available and cares about her money when planning trips for her family of 25. “I love to travel anywhere and everywhere,” the Hewlett Bay Park resident said, adding that Hersh has planned her trips to Anguilla, Aspen, Australia, Barcelona, Cannes, Florence, Israel, Puerto Rico, Rome and St. Barts.
Polsky and her mother went on a cruise from Barcelona to Rome for two weeks last summer. “Every single stop was planned and executed perfectly by Jodi,” she said of the trip, which included private tour guides and drivers.
On a busy week, Hersh said, she books between 500 to 600 tickets. In addition to business and leisure travel plans, she also coordinates the transportation of people to and from drug rehabilitation facilities.
As most people who have traveled know, there are occasionally obstacles to overcome getting from place to place. The challenges that Hersh faces in her line of work, according to Danny, include unpredictable weather and working with a variety of budgets.
“People use me because I’m very conscious about money,” she said. The most rewarding aspect of her job, she said, is when people have a great time on their trip.
“Jodi is without a doubt one of the finest travel agents on the planet,” Mark Southgate, branch president of Tzell Travel Group, said. He added that anyone planning a trip would want her fighting for him or her when issues arise, such as delayed or cancelled flights.
Wood Hew Travel is online at woodhew.com.