|By Wally Kennedy, The Joplin Globe,
Mo.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Mar. 23, 2010--After a year and a half of work, the upgrading of the Holiday Inn Joplin is nearly finished.
The new Holiday Inn sign, introduced in 2007, has been installed at the Range Line Road entrance. New signs to be placed on the building will arrive this week.
The new signs represent a seal of approval that the hotel meets the standards of a $1 billion worldwide program to relaunch the Holiday Inn brand. The program was established to create a more contemporary brand image for one of the oldest hotel chains in the industry. So far, 2,000 Holiday Inn properties have been relaunched.
The upgrade includes new guest room linens, bath and technology enhancements, and improvements to common areas and surrounding grounds. One key upgrade: You can now get a pillow that is either soft or firm.
Jon Patterson, general manager of the Holiday Inn Joplin, 3615 S. Range Line Road, said, "We are especially pleased to be among the new wave of properties to showcase these new Holiday Inn brand family hallmarks."
The renovation amounts to more than $2 million for the 262-room landmark, the largest hotel in Joplin. The last time the hotel received a makeover was in 2002.
The hotel is owned by John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts, Springfield. It is operated by InterContinental Hotels Group. IHG has recognized Holiday Inn Joplin as the most improved Holiday Inn property within the central U.S. region, which consists of 435 IHG hotel properties.
"The only remaining item we need to do after putting up the new signage is the installation of 32-inch, flat-panel TVs in every room," Patterson said. "Everything else is done."
Patterson said the Holiday Inn Joplin is weathering the economic downturn better than others.
"Our 2009 guest room business was actually up from the prior year," he said. "That was certainly unusual when you think about last year. There aren't very many hotels that could say that. We were pretty proud to increase our business in a down year like that."
Joplimostet Mattress has opened in a storefront in the remodeled shopping center at 1720 S. Range Line Road. The store is south of the Domino's Pizza and across from Academy Sports & Outdoors.
The store, owned by Brian Croft and managed by Josh Barnett, is having a pre-opening sale this week. A grand opening will be held in mid-April. The business plans to earmark 10 percent of its profits for nonprofit organizations in the community.
Croft, who moved to the area three year ago, has years of experience in the mattress business. He previously worked for Mattress Giant and Metro Mattress.
Croft said a full product line is being developed around the Joplimo Mattress brand. The store also will feature adjustable beds, pillows, mattress protectors, sheets and sleep accessories.
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