After decadelong absence, Red Roof hotel brand returns to Utah and honors military veterans
Nov 20, 2018 01:33PM
● By Carl Fauver
By Carl Fauver | [email protected]
If you stopped 20 Taylorsville residents on the street to ask directions to the city’s only motel, you might just get 20 blank stares.
But the president of the motel and hotel giant that just purchased that lone Taylorsville amenity says that is just fine, because people who choose extended stay properties almost always do so before they travel and don’t rely on freeway signage or word of mouth.
“We are excited to be moving into the extended stay lodging market and are thrilled to have among our first new properties this one in the Salt Lake Valley,” Red Roof President Andy Alexander said, while visiting Taylorsville from the company’s international headquarters in Ohio. “Red Roof had a presence in Ogden from 2001 to 2007 but has not been in Utah since then. As we entered into this growing hospitality sector, this state was a top priority.”
The Utah property is one of 50 Crossland Economy Studio motels Red Roof purchased in the multi-million-dollar deal. Often, an acquisition like this will be followed by layoffs or personnel changes. But not at the Taylorsville site.
“We had nine employees, including myself, before the sale — and have the same nine people now,” local General Manager Sandra Cuevas said. “This change has been very positive. Our rooms have been upgraded, the rest of the property spruced up and our occupancy rate in increasing.”
The three different room styles at the facility rent for $349 to $474 per week.
Alexander was one of several Red Roof corporate executives to visit their new HomeTowne Studios by Red Roof® Salt Lake City-Mid Valley location (5683 South Redwood Road) just days ahead of Veterans Day, to honor vets and to formally cut the ribbon on the remodeled and rebranded Taylorsville property.
“The company is spending $50 million refurbishing a number of newly purchased properties, including $800,000 at the Taylorsville location, during the launch of the new HomeTowne Studios by Red Roof sub-brand,” said spokeswoman Frances Ramos, while making her first-ever Utah visit, from Florida. “Red Roof now has nearly 600 properties in 42 states, Brazil and Japan, with Canada coming soon.”
Other Red Roof executives descended upon the property for the open house from Pennsylvania, Texas and Indiana.
Among them too was Vickie Lam, out of Indianapolis, herself a military vet.
“I spent eight years in the military and have now been with Red Roof 14 years,” Lam said, during the open house. “I am proud to work for a company that makes it a priority to honor our military veterans.”
Company President Alexander agrees.
“Throughout our 45-year history, Red Roof has supported many different outreach programs for veterans,” Alexander said. “We were particularly pleased at this (Taylorsville ribbon cutting and open house) to support Operation Gratitude. We were involved in a couple of other veterans’ events here in Utah a few days earlier as well. This is definitely one of our most important traditions.”
The company also has an ongoing tradition of offering discounted prices to active military members, veterans, retired military and their direct family members.
According to the website operationgratitude.com, “Operation Gratitude seeks to lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of the U.S. Military and First Responder communities, and to provide volunteer opportunities for Americans to express their appreciation to all who serve our nation.”
The organization claims, “Each year Operation Gratitude sends 300,000-plus individually addressed care packages to soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guardsmen deployed overseas, their children left behind, and to first responders, new recruits, veterans, wounded heroes and other care givers.”
Since it was founded in California 15 years ago, Operation Gratitude has been served by more than 25 million volunteer hours. Those people have hand written 8 million letters and assembled 13 million pounds of care packages.
Operation Gratitude reports, 94 cents of every dollar it receives in donations goes directly to program services, while fundraising expenses are less than 2 percent.
The HomeTowne Studios by Red Roof Salt Lake City-Mid Valley location actually first had a so-called “soft opening” in August.
Corporate officials say Red Roof is also now actively investigating other potential properties in Utah to grow their footprint here even further.