Super 8 holds grand opening

The new Super 8 Motel officially opened here last Thursday with a large crowd of residents and businesspeople on hand for a tour and ribbon-cutting ceremony.
After months of construction and fine-tuning, owners Kevin and Leah O’Flaherty and manager Tracy Laffin are going to leave the 59-room motel on King’s Highway in the hands of a local manager and return to their homes in Kenora.
“It’s been wonderful, the staff have been fantastic,” noted Leah O’Flaherty. “Our manager, Tracy, is sad to go.”
The lobby was crowded for the grand opening as Mayor Glenn Witherspoon welcomed the new motel and its owners to Fort Frances, and pointed out the economic and employment benefits for the town.
“Working with the town has been great,” noted Kevin O’Flaherty. “Glenn, when he heard we were thinking about it, introduced himself and made us feel welcome to the town.
“He just said ‘Hi,’ and that meant everything,” he added.
After considering building their second motel in Dryden, the couple switched to Fort Frances when they ran into complications there.
“I’ve played hockey all over Northwestern Ontario and I’ve always enjoyed Fort Frances,” noted O’Flaherty.
The town already has benefited as more than half the contractors working at the motel were hired locally.
Most of the staff were hired earlier this summer and have been at the motel since day one, cleaning after the construction and hosting the motel’s first customers.
The motel includes 12 two-room executive suites, a honeymoon/jacuzzi suite, an over-sized business suite, as well as a pool, hot tub, meeting, and breakfast area.
Now up-and-running, the new owners have had no shortage of visitors. But they insist they’re here to share in a growing local hospitality industry–not cut out from under other hotel owners.
“We’ve talked with representatives from the Red Dog and Rendez-Vous and they haven’t lost anything,” said O’Flaherty. “It’s a group effort. Your main competition is people not coming to town.
Representatives from both the Red Dog Inn and La Place Rendez-Vous attended the grand-opening Thursday.
Now, Fort Frances resident Wanda Barker will take over the reins as the motel’s manager while the O’Flahertys set their sights on other projects.
Among tentative ideas for Fort Frances are a neighbouring restaurant with concert patio or mini-putt course.
“We have the land on both sides but to have a restaurant, you need a dynamic operator and if a dynamic operator comes along, there’s many people who would support them in their endeavours,” said O’Flaherty.
“It’s an 80-hour a week job and you have to meet and greet everybody,” he added.
“If there’s [hockey] teams, maybe we’ll build a little rink out there and tell them to play there instead of swinging their sticks in here,” he smiled.
The O’Flahertys, who operated the M.S. Kenora and own and operate Casey’s Restaurant and the Super 8 in Kenora, also have another large project in mind–they’ve set their sights on building a motel in Thunder Bay.