Hotel Fredonia owner Susan Pack Reents stands with her staff at the hotel's saltwater pool.
(Photo by Bruce R. Partain)
Hotel Fredonia named Large Business of the Year
By Kelly Daniel, membership and marketing manager
Described as a downtown jewel, treasured landmark, first class establishment, gathering spot and community supporter, the Hotel Fredonia is now known as the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce Large Business of the Year. The award is one of three Gary Justice Business Excellence Awards given annually by the chamber and is sponsored by R & K Distributors, Inc.
Hotel owner Susan Pack Reents and hotel staff will be recognized at the chamber’s 91st Annual Meeting and Membership Banquet presented by Andrews & Andrews Attorneys at Law, Tuesday, Sept. 25, beginning with a social hour at 6 p.m. and dinner served at 7 p.m. in the SFA Baker Pattillo Student Center Grand Ballroom. Contact the chamber, 936-560-5533, for ticket information.
The business began in 1955 with the building of Jack McKinney’s vision of a downtown hub of commerce for Nacogdoches visitors and local residents. Throughout the following years, with periods of great success and failure - to the point of the complete closing of the facility for 26 months beginning in Feb. 1985 - generations of community business leaders have worked, invested and probably spent many hours in prayer so that the hotel would continue in operation and service.
“A number of citizens knew the hotel was part of the life blood of Nacogdoches and an integral part of the community,” said Joe Max Green, a member of the executive committee that reopened and revitalized the business in the late ‘80s. “Good things that happen in our city happen around the hotel.” Others that served on that committee were A.T. Mast, Jr., Ed Cole and Jim Kingham.
The publication “Hotel Fredonia: For the Convenience of Travelers and Guests” written by Dr. Archie P. McDonald, gives detailed descriptions of the hotel’s ups and downs, and the people who contributed their talents and resources. The book includes images of the facility in its numerous stages of development and interesting memorabilia such as the early restaurant menu and room rates.
Reents announced that copies of McDonald’s Hotel Fredonia book will be distributed as a gift to all attending the chamber banquet on Sept. 25. She also requests any photos, film, video and written memories that members of the community would like to share. To submit items, contact Sarah Cummings or Erica Estrada at the hotel, 936-564-1234.
"I've been in hundreds, if not thousands, of hotels all over the U.S. and the Hotel Fredonia is a truly unique treasure for Nacogdoches,” Bill King, president/CEO of Nacogdoches Economic Development Corp., said. “Over the past 30 to 40 years, hotels have become much more generic with the same exterior facade, same lobby, same restaurant, same rooms. The Hotel Fredonia is unique, a grand hotel right here in Nacogdoches. People who stay there remember the hotel, and they remember Nacogdoches.
“The economic impact of the hotel is equally important, from the jobs it creates for local citizens, the ‘bed’ taxes it pays, the conferences it brings to town, as well as the sense if community it instills in all of us whenever we walk through its doors.”
The hotel and convention center offers overnight guests and local residents enjoyable experiences with weekly live music entertainment on the patio, monthly fine dining and wine tasting gatherings, and special events such as fight nights and comedy club performances.
“The Hotel Fredonia is Nacogdoches’ living room,” Melissa Sanford, executive director of Nacogdoches Convention and Visitors Bureau, said. “We value the hotel as advocates in the promotion of goodwill and tourism in our community. The partnership and contributions that they put forth are essential to the success of Nacogdoches.”
King adds that the hotel “sets us apart from other communities, and we are truly blessed to have it and to be able to enjoy it."
About the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce 91st Annual Meeting & Membership Banquet presented by Andrews & Andrews Attorneys at Law
The chamber’s annual meeting begins at 6 p.m. with a raffle and social hour. Dinner is served at 7 p.m.
Award recipients for 2012 are:
Sgt. Greg Sowell, Citizen of the Year sponsored by Tipton Ford, Inc.
Heart of Texas Gift Gallery, Small Business of the Year.
Austin Bank, Texas N.A. - Nacogdoches, Medium Business of the Year sponsored by Regions Bank.
Hotel Fredonia, Large Business of the Year sponsored by R&K Distributors, Inc.