America’s Best Franchising named the Cartersville America’s Best Inns & Suites the 2012 Outstanding Property of the Year.
“We were a little surprised by it. There are 105 hotels under the America’s Best Inn flag,” Terry Terrell said, although there are more than 250 hotels under America’s Best Franchising. “More than anything, I think they were looking for how we impact the community we’re in. Every year, they ask us what we’ve done to help out the community, how do you treat your guests. And I’d say our biggest impact within the community has been Bartow Give A Kid A Chance. The first event was held here at the hotel, we held it here in 2008 — it was an Eagle Scout project headed up by my son.
“We had about 105 kids, he raised the money, organized the volunteers and the Boy Scout troop did most of the work that year. We had it here again the next year and then in 2010, we started having it at the Cartersville Civic Center. We’ve gone from 100 kids to over 1,400 this year.”
In addition to property of the year, the Cartersville America’s Best Inns & Suites collected a 2012 Quality Assurance Award for guest accommodations, customer service and other factors. Every year, America’s Best Franchising sends mystery shoppers into each property to inspect a variety of criteria from how phones are answered by staff to room cleanliness and maintenance issues.
The Terrells bought the property out of foreclosure in 2005 then worked on repairs and renovations for about 18 months just to be met shortly there after with an economic crisis beginning in 2008. Just a year later, though, in 2009 the Terrells were named the Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau Hotelier of the Year.
Since that time, the Terrells have found themselves in a position to help others. As the recession worsened, the Cartersville America’s Best Inns & Suites began catering to extended stay guests and is now home to about 50 families as well as other temporary long-term guests, including contract workers and families displaced by tragedy.
“It’s been a struggle. There’s been lots of ups and downs,” Terry Terrell said. “That’s why we have a lot of families here, they’ve lost their homes and this is their last hope.”
The Terrells work regularly with local churches, including the Bridge United Methodist Church which began meeting at the hotel. After a family is affected by fire or natural disaster, America’s Best Inns & Suites may be their home for upwards of a year.
“When the tornados came through, we housed quite a few people — and the churches use us. They know we’re Christians and that we take care of the people here, so the churches will send people here for housing,” Kim Terrell said. “We had people living here almost a year while their houses were being rebuilt after the tornado.
“It’s just the times, the economy. People have lost jobs, they’ve lost houses. ... They have no place to go. It’s a place we can offer where they don’t have to worry about some of the ill effects going on in the county. We run a pretty tight ship here.”
As an economic recovery emerges, however, the Terrells hope to see an increase in business from contract workers. With excitement surrounding LakePoint Sporting Community & Town Center as well as Highland 75 industrial park just a few miles down the road, the Cartersville America’s Best Inns & Suites looks to do business with construction crews and traveling guests.
“With voestalpine coming in and LakePoint Sports, we’re hoping that will increase business here,” Terry Terrell said. “We actually go out and market those sites. Kim and I will go visit the sites, give them information and ask them to come check us out.
“When the JDA corporate park gets started, we’ll be here ready for them, because our expertise is long-term contractors more than anything. We have nightlies, but due to our location and visibility, it’s really tough to get the nightlies off the interstate.”
The Cartersville America’s Best Inns & Suites boasts an outdoor pool, a two-acre courtyard, 10,000 square feet of meeting space and 121 rooms with rates beginning at $99 a week. For more information, call 770-387-9577 or visit www.americasbestinncartersville.com.