Days Inn & Suites in St. James, now under new ownership, has reopened its doors, and most of the same employees have returned to work.
The hotel reopened on May 1 after financial woes caused the previous owner to close down in March.
Elliott Lodging, of Springfield, Mo., recently bought the rights to the franchise, and plans are in the works to give the 60-room facility a new name, The St. James Hotel.
According to general manager Alan Wynn, most of the former employees including himself will return to their former positions. At least two of the former employees have secured employment elsewhere, but at least eight are back to work.
Wynn plans to hire at least two temporary housekeepers through the summer.
"We just want everyone to know that we are officially open," said Wynn, who had been unemployed since the March shutdown. "Everybody's as excited as they can be, and everything is really working in the right direction."
Elliott Lodging also owns and/or operates 19 other hotel properties in southwestern Missouri and in Kansas.
Wynn had been promoted to general manager just five months before Days Inn closed down in March.
The community is also breathing a sigh of relief, especially with events like the Grape and Fall Festival and Old Iron Works Days just around the corner.
"It's wonderful. It's just in time for the summer season and more events in the fall," said Dawn Thompson, director of the St. James Chamber of Commerce. "I'm thrilled because it means the world to businesses in St. James."
Amanda Watson, the former owner, could not be reached for comment at the time of the March report. Mayor Dennis Wilson said the property had experienced financial difficulties and was in foreclosure.
Wynn says new owner Gordon Elliot contacted him about a day before the hotel reopened, which was both a shock and a relief.
"I knew it was in the works, but I didn't know for certain it was going to happen until he called me the day before," Wynn said. "He told me he wasn't going to open the hotel unless I was willing to manage it, so that made me happy."
Days Inn is located at 110 N. Outer Road in St. James. For more information, call 573-265-2900 or 573-265-2000.