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LIBERTY Hampton Inn open for business



Published: Thu, August 9, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The manager said the new hotel had a full house for its first weekend.

By CYNTHIA VINARSKY

VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER

LIBERTY -- Vanessa Moyer has seen the grim side of the hospitality industry. She spent 10 years working for a liquidation company that bought bankrupt hotels in Washington, D.C.

Now the Youngstown native is getting a sunnier view as general manager of the new, 66-room Hampton Inn at 4400 Belmont Ave. The hotel opened for business Aug. 1 and has a ribbon-cutting and open house set for 2 to 4 p.m. Friday.

"I've had to lay off employees and close down old, bankrupt hotels. I did the depressing part," she said. "Now I get to do the happy part, be the manager of a brand new place."

The three-story hotel was originally scheduled to open in time for the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic and the Hot Rod Super Nationals last month -- two of the Valley's biggest tourist attractions -- but construction delays forced the company to push back the date. Nevertheless, Moyer said business has been good so far.

"We had about 22 guests our first night, and we were completely booked Friday and Saturday night," she said. "I'd say that's pretty good for our first weekend."

Career: The new manager, 42, grew up on Youngstown's South Side and graduated from The Rayen School, then moved out of the area to earn a bachelor's degree in business administration at Montgomery County Community College in Rockville, Md.

Starting out in her 20s as a hotel telephone operator, she rose through the ranks in the hospitality industry, eventually assuming a management position for the hotel liquidator. Her job was to prepare outdated, financially troubled hotels in the nation's capital for sale or shutdown.

She said laying off employees, often without even a day's notice, was the hardest part of the job.

Disillusioned with the hospitality industry, Moyer tried other occupations. She managed a Dairy Mart and worked in industry, but when she returned home to the Mahoning Valley two years ago she decided to give hotel management another try.

Started in Boardman: She landed a job as assistant general manager of the Fairfield Inn in Boardman, was promoted to general manager when a position opened there, then made the switch to Hampton to run the new Liberty hotel.

"The hospitality industry is kind of addictive. It's a job you either love or hate, and I missed it," she said. "It's just what I want to do."

Moyer is living on Youngstown's North Side where she's raising three grandsons, ages 7, 5 and 3. "I was lucky enough to find one of those big houses with six bedrooms," she said.

About the hotel: Fortney & amp; Weygandt of Akron was the general contractor for the $5 million Hampton Inn, which features an indoor pool and exercise room, free continental breakfasts, Jacuzzi suites and high-speed Internet access in every room for business travelers. It employs 21.

Moyer said she's optimistic that the new facility will do well because few of its competitors in the Liberty area cater to corporate guests.

Hampton Inn is owned by the Memphis, Tenn.-based Hilton Corp., and has more than 1,000 locations, including one in Howland and one in Boardman.




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