• Brinson & Dixon Insurance, 30 E. Main St., has a new name: Brinson, Williams and Groomes Insurance. Brinson & Dixon was formed May 2002 by David Brinson. Because of the growth of the company, David has added Delores Groomes and Kyle Williams as partners. Delores started her career in insurance in 1996 and joined David in 2005. Kyle became an agent in 2005 and joined David in 2008. This month is David's 25th anniversary as an agent. He began his career with Farm Bureau in 1989.
• B&R Treasures and Treats and B&R Accounting and Taxes have opened at 45 E. Main St. Owned by Danielle and Marc Nauts, the business offers a variety of snacks including snowballs, gift items, collectibles plus accounting and tax services. Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.
• Dr. Steve Burrell, vice president for information technology and chief information officer for GSU, will be sworn in as president of the Downtown Statesboro Rotary Club on Thursday morning at R.J.'s Steakery. Dr. Burrell follows Hadley Campbell as the outgoing president. Tim Salter will serve as president-elect.
• Farmers Market vendor of the week: www.sevenwillowssoaps.com, locally owned by Carol Calhoun
Everyone seems to be focused on cleaning up and redeveloping the "Blue Mile," also known as South Main Street from the County Courthouse to the main entrance of Georgia Southern.
It is the "front door" of our community and making it as attractive as possible is important for everyone. In the past couple of weeks, there has been some major movement on this project. First United Methodist Church is midway through the demolition of the former Aldred's Trellis Garden Inn which has been vacant for years.
Also, Per Holtze and his father, Christer, announced the sale of the Quality Inn and Manny's Restaurant a long time center piece property on the "Blue Mile." The hotel was originally constructed in 1965 as a Holiday Inn. In the past two decades it has experienced five ownership changes and four brand changes. The most significant changes during this period came under Per's ownership.
"Immediately after purchasing the property in 2008, we invested around a million dollars constructing a new ballroom and pre-function area, new saltwater pool and deck, new courtyard layout and landscaping, new boardroom and meeting room, new larger public space bathrooms and an office expansion," Holtze said. "We developed custom catering through Magnolia Hospitality and also created the Main Street Studio's extended-stay corporate lodging concept. The guest room renovations had been fully completed, and the Manny's restaurant concept was established by the former owner."
Since Per and his father acquired the property in 2008, the Statesboro hotel landscape has changed pretty dramatically. With the construction of three brand new upscale hotels, including Holiday Inn Express, Springhill Suites and Hampton Inn, room inventory has increased by 37 percent making Statesboro one of the most competitive areas in the industry.
The new owners, Hazrat and Deborah Rehman and their nephew Goher Zaman, see the Quality Inn as a great investment opportunity and are excited about entering the Statesboro market. Their plans include updating and renovating rooms. Also, they will continue to operate the restaurant with the Manny's concept.
"We love that the property is situated in a beautiful downtown with very close proximity to GSU. It has been well maintained and has great growth potential," Zaman said.
Zaman is a molecular biologist and has spent his career to date working on impressive research projects funded by Bethesda Research Center. However, he said he always dreamed of being a small-business owner.
Per is married to the former Jessica Jones, who grew up in Statesboro. They recently celebrated the birth of their fourth child. Per has accepted a position as a commercial insurance agent with BBWH and will remain in the community.
To get a proper perspective for the story, I reached out to Sylvia Brown, one of the best-known and longest-running hotel managers in the Boro. Sylvia was in hotel management for 32 years before retiring. She spent 24 of those in Statesboro and actually managed the original Holiday Inn for eight years and Aldred's for 14 years.
"It is bittersweet to see Aldred's demolished," she said. "I loved that hotel. It was a wonderful property. I am thrilled to see the Quality Inn has been acquired by a family that will give the hotel and its clients the attention it deserves."
I asked Sylvia what was the key to her success in operating hotels in this market successfully for such a long time.
"Like any business, it is a people business," she said. "You have to hire the best staff and know your customers. I began every day at 6:30 a.m. sitting down with my customers at breakfast. My staff and I knew them all by name. You also have to love what you do so much that everyone knows how much you love it by being in your presence."
I guess we know why visitors to the Boro still ask about Sylvia and her team when visiting.
Please email DeWayne at firstname.lastname@example.org or give him a call at (912) 489-9499.