The weekend trip is meant to stimulate tourism in Washington, its organizers say.
By AMANDA C. DAVIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Holly Zoba and Lance Fensterman are trying to give something back to the community where they once lived.
To do that, they need help from people in the community they now call home.
The two are partners and co-owners of North Perk coffee shop on North Park Avenue downtown, and they run Warren Pages, a Web site design firm.
Zoba and Fensterman are organizing a weekend "Freedom Tour" bus trip to Washington, D.C., to help spur the tourism industry they worked for in the nation's capital.
So far, 10 people have signed up, but at least 30 people are needed for the trip to be viable economically.
The bus leaves downtown Warren at 5 p.m. Nov. 30 and returns by 9 p.m. Dec. 2.
The cost is $149, based on double occupancy, which includes two nights at Lincoln Suites Hotel, continental breakfast for two mornings and transportation to Potomac Mills, one of the East Coast's largest outlet malls.
The deal also includes coupons for savings at Potomac Mills and D.C.-area restaurants.
For more details, visit www.Warrenpages.com, or call (330) 373-1500. Reservations should be made by Nov. 10, when payment is due.
D.C. dwellers: Zoba, who grew up in Warren, worked in the hotel business for the 17 years she spent in Washington D.C.
She was corporate director of marketing and operations for Hospitality Partners, which owns or manages 12 hotels in Washington, D.C.
She was general manager at the time she hired Fensterman, who grew up in Minneapolis, as sales manager. The two moved to Warren two years ago.
"Tourists are avoiding [Washington, D.C.] because they are afraid," Fensterman said. "Thousands of tourism-related employees have been laid off.
"We think we need to do something to help."
Many of their former co-workers are out of jobs, Zoba said, explaining that Hospitality Partners has laid off 200 of its 1,400 employees since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Renovated hotel: She was one of the key players involved in the renovation of the Lincoln Suites Hotel, which she said had been a ratty, run-down building when Hospitality Partners stepped in.
Fensterman said the Lincoln used to be an apartment building, so rooms are bigger than most and have kitchenettes. It's got a modern feel and employees bake cookies and provide milk for guests each day. It's located downtown in the business district.
Zoba said co-workers have been gracious in putting together the package.
"They're making it very affordable so people have no reason not to come," she said.
"They're happy to have heads in beds, as they say in the hotel business," he added.
The two will be tour guides for the trip. They said a "Washington by Night" tour is in the makes that will feature tales of high-profile Washington scandals.
For the most part, people will be on their own, and above all, the trip is designed for fun, Fensterman said.
He added that hundreds of Washington, D.C. hotel rooms are vacant, so there is no limit to the number of people who can take the trip.