Holiday Inn Express named June 2022 Small Business of the Month

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Representatives from the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce and Enrichment Federal Credit Union presented the Holiday Inn Express and Suites a banner to recognize the hotel’s selection as the Chamber’s Small Business of the Month for June. Pictured are: Norm Nelson, Brittany Hensley, Chris Hicks, Cindy Adkins, Heather Brown, Joe Valentino, April Fugate, Chip Dooley, Kelley O’Dell and Jennifer Wilson.
Representatives from the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce and Enrichment Federal Credit Union presented the Holiday Inn Express and Suites a banner to recognize the hotel’s selection as the Chamber’s Small Business of the Month for June. Pictured are: Norm Nelson, Brittany Hensley, Chris Hicks, Cindy Adkins, Heather Brown, Joe Valentino, April Fugate, Chip Dooley, Kelley O’Dell and Jennifer Wilson.

Holiday Inn Express, located at 114 Tulsa Road, is the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Month for June 2022. The award is sponsored by Enrichment Federal Credit Union.

When you think of a small business, the Holiday Inn Express might not immediately come to mind. But, according to Heather Brown, sales manager at the hotel, there are just 20 employees on the hotel’s staff. “We are independently owned and operated by a smaller hotel management company.”

Heather says what makes the business so special is the people who work there. “We have pretty good longevity with our staff.” Heather says General Manager Joe Valentino really lives by the golden rule of the hotel industry: be good to your team and they’ll be good to your guests. “We have a family more than a staff. We call it a ‘hotel team’ rather than a ‘staff.’ We have really good people: they care about the hotel, and they work really hard.”

When asked what makes the Oak Ridge Holiday Inn Express an award-winning hotel, Heather again points to the staff. “That would absolutely be our team. We have a great brand and that drives the brand loyalty, but once we get them in the door, it’s up to us to sustain that trust and that loyalty and deliver that hospitality magic. Our team under promises and over delivers. They do an exceptional job treating people like family. That’s what sets us apart – the people. We’ve won the torchbearer award many times which is one of the most prestigious awards that you can win in the IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) brand and that does set us apart because of the awards that we’ve won and that again is attributed to such a great team that we have. And that consistency.”

The Oak Ridge Holiday Inn Express believes in taking care of the community: donating linens and toiletry items to the Ecumenical Storehouse, contributing hygiene items to the Rotary Club at Christmastime for their goodie bags, and making financial contributions to organizations like the United Way, according to a news release. They also work to train people who need some assistance getting into the job market. “We are involved with the Oak Ridge High School special education program where they have kids with special needs who are trying to develop skills to learn to be out in the workforce. During school, they come twice a week for a few hours and work in our laundry or we show them how to do housekeeping. We also participate with the Ridgeview rehabilitation program. We have an employee that works for us right now and have had many over the years who are trying to get back into the workforce who have gone through rehabilitation.”

To nominate a business for the award, visit the Chamber’s website at www.oakridgechamber.org. Businesses with 50 or fewer employees, are current members of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce in good standing and show involvement in the community and/or the Chamber are eligible.

This article originally appeared on Oakridger: Holiday Inn Express named June 2022 Small Business of the Month