Local innkeepers recognized

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"We're just totally honored. We have always been with the Vermont Chamber ... as a member and we thought we had a lot of value in the membership," said co-owner of the Inn at Manchester Frank Hanes. "To be awarded this is just hard to describe. It means a ton. The appreciation just ignites the motivation again. ... it's just incredible to be acknowledged."

Hanes said that he and Julie Hanes have always tried to focus on the relationship with their customers and taking care of their needs. According to Senior Vice President of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, Vicky Tebbetts, that element played an important role in earning the Hanes the award. "I think probably what stood out with them was their ability to develop relationships, not only with customers and clients, but with their staff," said Tebbetts. "Their nomination reflected incredible leadership that the committee thought was inspirational not only for the staff, but for Vermont's hospitality industry as a whole."

In fact, Hanes said that the relationship that he and Julie Hanes develop with their guests is something extraordinary.

"Quite honestly it's amazing how they just get intimate with our business. They want us to succeed. They offer incredible advice and support," Hanes said. "We just have some very sincere relationshiips with our guests and its very exciting to us."

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The Hanes were chosen out of about six candidates.

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Tebbetts said there are several different criteria that are used to determine which business is deserving of the award. Among them a committment to staff and staff training, excellence in the operation of an inn, involvement in legislative activities on behalf of the industry, support of the community and promoting Vermont brand and its attributes, Tebbetts said.

This is the first time that the Inn at Manchester has won the award.

According to Tebbetts, the award dates back to 1998. At that time it was being awarded sporadically by the Vermont Lodging and Restaurant Association. However, when the Vermont Chamber absorbed the association about six years ago they began giving it out on an annual basis. The Inn at Manchester is not the only Manchester business to receive the award. The Reluctant Panther - which at the time was owned by Jerry and Elizabeth LaValley - received the award in 2007.

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The fact that two Manchester businesses received the award in such close proximity did not surprise Tebbetts.

"It's (the award) based upon where hospitality is thriving within our state," she said. "Of course Manchester has an incredible concentration of excellent properties. So, I'm not surprised there were only four years (in between) when the Reluctant Panther got it and when Frank and Julie got it."

The Hanes will be presented with the award at the Vermont Hospitality Gala on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at The Woodstock Inn & Resort, according to a press release.


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