In the small town of Clare, Michigan, business is booming at the 157-room Doherty Hotel, a fourth-generation, family-owned, historical landmark established in 1924. Business is so good, in fact, that plans for a major renovation are underway, but not in the way people might expect.
“We’re going to be remodeling the whole hotel to bring it back to 1924 standards,” said Dean Doherty, president and chief operating officer of the hotel. “We’re going to make it look exactly like it was in 1924. It’s going to be about a $6 million project.”
Steeped in tradition, the original 60-room Doherty Hotel provided guests with more than a bed to rest on; it housed a charming coffee shop, large dining room, a soda fountain shop, a barbershop and two sample rooms, which provided commercial travelers an opportunity to display their wares to the many tourists passing through town.
Located at the intersection of three major roadways – US-10, M-115 and US-127 – Doherty Hotel rests comfortably in a town known as “The Crossroads of Michigan.” “Clare is halfway to everywhere in the Lower Peninsula and serves as the Gateway to the North,” noted Dean. “I believe that’s a huge part of our success.”
“People like the unique hotels of the world; that’s never going to go out of style,” said Dean. “And I want to make (Doherty Hotel) a great place for another 50 years.”
Belonging to a powerful and effective statewide business organization like the Michigan Chamber that fights fearlessly for pro-business, common sense policies, gives Dean peace of mind as he looks to expand his hotel.
“Just knowing that you guys are out there fighting the good fight on issues that help us means everything,” said Dean. “Having a good business climate is what makes us want to expand and keep our business here.”