Editor’s Note — Howie is blogging today from the beautiful Holiday Inn & Suites in Downtown Duluth. He’s adding content throughout the morning, as he roams around Duluth’s largest convention center hotel and the Holiday Center — poundin’ away on his well-worn laptop and snapping photos on his trusted iPhone 4s. Enjoy.
Good morning from the Holiday Inn & Suites.Surprise, surprise: new general manager Gerry Goldfarb, a Duluth native with 19 years of hospitality leadership experience, is in the house.
Goldfarb is a genuinely nice man, a pro’s pro in his industry. He’s humble, caring and soft-spoken. It’s obvious that he has excellent leadership skills, and presumably a guy who earns respect rather than commanding it from his employees.
Mark this down in pen: Goldfarb loves his job — and Duluth. His return to our community about six months ago coincides with a $4 million renovation that’s currently underway at the hotel, which features 345 guest rooms and suites.
“It’s exciting for me and my family to be back in Duluth, to see all the positive changes in Downtown Duluth and along the waterfront, and to have a role in the exciting renovation project here at Holiday Inn & Suites,” Goldfarb said during a brief, informal chat today in the hotel’s beautiful lobby. “The new Sheraton, Maurices expanding and the spectacular Bentleyville attraction, what’s not to be excited for our Downtown?”For the past eight years, Goldfarb had been with the North Central Group — a Middleton, Wisconsin-based developer, owner and operator of more than 25 hotels — most recently as a regional general manager. Prior to that he had served in general manager roles at the Hampton Inn-Eagan, Park Inn & Suites by Carlson in Shakopee, Marriott Towne Place Suites in Eden Prairie, and the Days Inn-Burnsville.
“We conducted a nationwide search to find an excellent, new general manager for the Holiday Inn & Suites, and we feel fortunate to have someone with Gerry’s experience and leadership joining our hotel team,” said Mark Emmel, President and Chief Operating Officer of Duluth-based Lion Hotel Group, which owns the Holiday Inn & Suites.
“Lion’s commitment to the renovation, to continually improve the product, and keep its team members happy – some managers and housekeepers have worked here for up to 30 years – were important factors in my decision to accept this new challenge,” said Golfarb.
Goldfarb and his wife, Stephanie, are proud parents to four children, ranging in ages 16 to 2.
“We’re home,” Goldfarb said.
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Having lunch at Porter’s Restaurant, in the Holiday Center. Awesome food and service, great atmosphere. Staff is professional, friendly and allows my lunch guest and I to carry on our conversation without interruption, which we appreciate. It’s a very relaxing spot for lunch, and the prices are ridiculously affordable. My guest highly recommends the walleye sandwich. I had the soup-of-the-day, which reminded me of my late, grandma’s excellent cookin’. We’ll come back, again and again.
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Finally, Matthew (never caught your last name, sorry!), your customer service skills are unmatched, and you set a masterful example as how to bring sincere passion to your job, for your colleagues to emulate.