By BRENDA J. LINERT
NILES - Ken Richmond and his son Dakota are hoping to be a father-son housekeeping duo when the new Residence Inn by Marriott opens at the Eastwood Mall Complex in Niles.
Ken Richmond, who said he has work experience in housekeeping, and his son, a 2013 Warren G. Harding graduate, were among dozens of applicants who turned out Wednesday afternoon to apply for hotel employment at a job fair inside Eastwood Mall. The four-story, 103-room hotel, on track for a May opening, is looking to hire some 50 employees within the next month.
Before the job fair, hotel management and TMI Hospitality, which will own and operate the facility, offered a glimpse of what guests will experience once the doors open.
Inside, the construction site is quickly being converted to the comfortable, extended-stay hotel that will be attached via indoor walkway to Eastwood Mall.
Tribune Chronicle / Brenda J. Linert
Applicants lined up Wednesday inside the Eastwood Mall in Niles at a job fair for the new hotel opening in May.
Wednesday, drywallers and other construction crews clamored through what soon will be the hotel's lobby, meeting room, pool and exercise rooms. Upstairs, though, rooms were taking shape a bit more quickly. There, high-end furniture, kitchen cabinetry, carpeting and even decorative artwork already were in place in many rooms.
"We look for the average stay to be five days, and they really will have all the comforts of home," said Michele Janci, director of sales for the facility. "They just need to show up with their toothbrush. We will provide cable television, a full kitchen stocked with dishes, silverware. Everything they really need. Even a colander if they want to make spaghetti."
And if a guest does want to make spaghetti, or any other special meal, hotel staff will make a courtesy grocery run for them, Janci said.
The hotel, which will be attached to the mall near Dillard's, also will adjoin a new banquet center capable of seating up to 1,000 guests. That facility will be under different management and is expected to be open within the year, said Joe Bell, spokesman for Cafaro Company which owns and operates Eastwood Mall.
The concept of joining a hotel to a shopping mall is not novel, but it is new for Cafaro Company and the hotel's owner / operator TMI Hospitality.
"I know with the lovely northeast Ohio winters we have, this is really perfect," said Dave Mangus, Area Director for TMI Hospitality, referring to the ability for hotel and banquet center guests to visit the mall, dine or shop, without ever stepping outside.
So far, more than 250 people already have applied for positions at the hotel. Hiring will focus on positions like housekeeping, customer service and maintenance. Most management positions already have been filled, said Brian Necastro, who will serve as hotel general manager. He is transferring from TMI Hospitality's Fairfield Inn in Boardman.
Once hires are in place, training will begin in early April, and will involve a lot of role-playing situations, particularly for customer service positions.
TMI Hospitality's Mangus stressed the importance of hiring good people. Promoting from within is always the company's preference, he said.
Necastro, who started as a part-time maintenance person at a TMI property in Boardman and now will serve as the Niles facility's general manager, is a perfect example of that.
The hotel job fair will continue 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at Eastwood Mall Center Court.