Days Inn aims to source needs locally, makes choice to pay above minimum wage

By Roderick Benns

Days Inn & Suites Lindsay General Manager, Candace Buckley.

It has been less than three years since the Days Inn and Suites in Lindsay opened its doors, but it’s already become a community fixture – and not just for those visiting from out of town.

Candace Buckley, general manager of Lindsay’s largest hotel, says the local hotel has made it their priority to source the things they need locally as much as possible.

That includes breakfast items from National Grocer, Kawartha Wholesale Bakery, and Imperial Coffee, and furniture and appliances from Holsag, Southern Comfort, and Kennedy’s Appliances and Electronics.

“We try to keep our money local whenever we can,” says Buckley, who notes this decision was made early on by the 11 business partners who own the Angeline Street property (10 of whom are local.)

Days Inn & Suites Lindsay General Manager, Candace Buckley.

Leadership and Accolades

Led by Buckley, it’s going to be hard for the hotel to top the year they had in 2016. Buckley herself won the general manager of the year award for all Days Inn hotels across Canada.

The Lindsay hotel also won property of the year, guest choice award for having the highest reviews online, and the prestigious ‘chairman’s award’ for an elite group of Days Inns and Hotels that meet the highest level of quality. As well, she just found out that Days Inn and Suites in Lindsay have again won the chairman’s award, for 2017, with most other awards to be announced in March.

“Criteria is based on an algorithm that combines metrics of brand standards, guest feedback and operational requirements,” says Buckley.

Buckley, who is obviously driven, was just 23 when she was hired and had just begun her last semester at University of Guelph in their business commerce program. She majored in hotel and food administration.

She recalls when the hotel opened in May of 2015 she walked across the stage with degree in hand just one month later.

Buckley says, “2015 was a very busy time for me.”

“I was driving home from Guelph the majority of every weekend to get things organized.”

This included hosting a job fair, meeting with hotel owners, visiting the property, and creating a game plan for the new business. “I had many surprised faces when I told classmates and professors about my new position but they were very excited for me,” she says.

Community Needs

Buckley says Days Inn helps out with community needs by sponsoring sports teams with discounted stays at the hotel, or helping Boys and Girls Club of Kawartha Lakes and Community Care with space to host events.

They also raised $2,000 for the Ross Memorial Hospital at New Year’s.

“We realized that so many people come to town to be closer to loved ones who are in the hospital,” explains Buckley.

“So we wanted to do something to give back.”

Buckley, who grew up in Lindsay and attended St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School, says Days Inn employs about 25 full and part-time people, almost all of whom also live in the area.

She says the hotel does its best to promote Kawartha Lakes, and since everyone is local there is no shortage of suggestions of things to do for people who are in town visiting.

Minimum Wage

When asked about the new and sudden minimum wage hike to $14 an hour (and then $15 an hour next Jan. 1) and how it’s impacting Days Inn, Buckley says it has definitely impacted their bottom line.

“But the whole ownership team sees value in having everyone make higher than minimum wage anyway,” she says.

“It’s going to be a positive thing overall, and it’s nice to see the staff be able to do more” with their increased pay cheques, Buckley says. The general manager notes that “everyone got an increase,” too, not just those making minimum wage, to keep things fair.

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