March 28th, 2009

So much is made these days of the fates of the big auto companies. They cannot be allowed to fail. These household names must be preserved, and I understand this on all financial as well as emotional levels. But if all the familiar transportation brands are to be saved, surely we’ll be losing some other familiar monikers in these next months. I’ve started lately to wonder about the big hotel chains. Names that are synonymous with status and wealth, names that, in some cases, have even become tabloid staples. Can they withstand this crisis, dependent as they are on travelers associating them with comfort and care?

I feel safe in striking this conversation up with you all, who know that an oversized corporate hotel could never be competition for us. The regulated homogenization of a large chain, the emphasis on maintaining brand standards, these things are exactly what we want if we’re shopping for a new car or a pill for our headaches. For a place to unwind at night, however, a place to stumble groggily about in the morning coffee hunt, that mentality just doesn’t work. The coolness of a branded establishment is far too harsh for these parts of life and I trust that, saying this to you here, I am, as they say, preaching to the choir. Our little hotel is interwoven with extended families and childhood friendships, as a result of a strict pro-nepotism hiring policy, so we get to start with a strong community as a base. What’s been so great over these years, though, is how loyal you all have been to us, and, so, how much you all have entered and enriched this community. We can feel secure in these hard times knowing that, as much as we’re running a business, we’re also maintaining the comfort zone that a lot of you depend on. Thanks for leaning into us like that. It’s nice that we can be here for each other in these hard times.

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