Thanks to COVID-19’s impacts, it has been more than a year since the Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce was able to pull out its oversized golden scissors and red bow to host a ribbon cutting for a new business.
That unhappy streak came to an end yesterday with the opening of Hilton Garden Inn on S. Martin Street in the Harvest Junction Shopping Center.
The hotel’s owner Rohit Dand, president of Cimarron Hospitality and his father Harish Dand, chairman of Cimarron Hospitality were front and center at the event. The pair have operated the business together for more than 15 years from their home state of Texas.
“We’re not only business partners, we’re best friends,” the younger Dand said. Though they own three other hotel properties, this is their first out-of-state venture.
He explained further, “The city was very attractive to us. Usually when we look for new hotel locations, we looked for markets with both population growth and new businesses coming in. We found Longmont to be a forward thinking city. A lot of changes were coming to fruition and the city itself didn’t have an iconic hotel or brand here.”
At least 50 people from Longmont’s business community and government attended the event.
“We’re excited to have this open. For us, it’s the closest hotel.” said Jeff Nagle, plant manager for the JM Smucker Co. Uncrustables manufacturing plant. “We’ve already used the conference room space to host offsite meetings. Going forward, we’ll use it for corporate visitors, those who will visit the plant for business reviews, people from other Smucker plants or for workmen at the plant.”
This happy day did not come easily. While the business was first open to room occupants as of Nov. 6, of last year, the Dands had to wait more than five months to celebrate. That was just one of the pandemic related challenges they faced.
“As you can imagine, COVID did have an impact. With the uncertainty of it was tough to get contractors in to do work.” Dand said. “I frequently traveled. Between early May to the opening, I was on a flight here every week. Sometimes there were only 20 people on a flight, but I came because we had to get the hotel opened. Then, in November, we couldn’t hire the number of staff we wanted to because there wasn’t the need. Management staff had to put on a lot of extra hats to get through it.”
At this point, however, more rooms are being filled. The hotel is planning to hire more employees, bringing staff to levels to the Dands’ intended numbers.. Dand said there will be jobs in housekeeping, front desk and in the restaurant available. Anyone interested in applying should call the hotel directly for an interview at 720-759-4422.
The ribbon cutting may be a sign that things are getting closer to “normal.” When asked how opening day felt, Dand replied with little hesitation.
“It feels wonderful. Even though it isn’t formally the opening, to me it feels like the first day. It’s wonderful to enjoy the results of all this hard work and to do it with individuals we care about, who have been with us throughout the process.”