With the Holiday Inn Express finally opening its doors earlier this month making for excitement in the area, the person running the 104-room hotel needed to be someone with a strong background in the industry.
Safari Hospitality, the property management company that owns the Holiday Inn, found their person in general manager Mandy Gendreau when she replied to a post on Facebook.
Gendreau explained that her previous work life has been prepping her for this moment for almost two decades.
“I have been in and out of the hospitality industry my whole life,” Gendreau said. “I got my first front desk manager position when I was 18 years old.”
Spending the last decade in Michigan, Gendreau moved around a lot, managing several different sites over the time span.
“I have spent the last 10 years working for Grand Hospitality, in Grand Rapids, Michigan,” she said. “While working for them I managed several hotels, including a Best Western, Country Inn & Suites, Red Roof, and Wyndham Garden. Additionally, I was the regional director of sales for two choice properties, Clarion Inn & Suites and Sleep Inn & Suites.”
Gendreau moved to the valley last year with her three children, who range from seven years old to 16 years of age. Being a single mother affects her life in all aspects, including her professional life.
“It makes it very challenging,” she said. “Having a really awesome staff here at the hotel makes it able for me to get through it.”
Not only is Gendreau running the day-to-day operations of a staff of 25 employees, she also put in a lot of manual labor helping set up the hotel leading up to its opening.
“It was a lot of blood, sweat and tears by a lot of hard-working staff,” she said. “We finally got there and we are very proud of the result.”
With all the hard work Gendreau and her staff put into preparing the hotel for its debut, everyone involved has a greater sense of pride for their workplace.
“It makes you feel very proud of the work you put in when you step back and look around at the finished product,” she said.
The Holiday Inn is entering its third week of operations and Gendreau and crew have already worked a major event in town with the Fall Festival last weekend.
“It was eventful, it was fun and we had a lot of walk-ins, so it ramped up business so that was really nice,” she said. “Everything went very smoothly and Golden Gaming were very helpful as they provided a shuttle service for our guests to the festival.”
With her past position requiring Gendreau to move her and her family around a lot, she is excited to have an area that she can settle down in and call home.
“In Michigan I worked for a company where I moved around and managed lots of different properties and I never had one that was my home where I could stay and be grounded, and this is definitely the one for me,” she said. “My kids really like it here, we like the town so we’re staying for a long time.”