Hotel Fredonia shutting down - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

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Hotel Fredonia shutting down

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NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

The historic Hotel Fredonia that was built brick by brick by community members in the 1950's laid off all of their 90 employees Monday.

"I just made the choice because of what revenue is not coming in because the occupancy tax is down 40 percent, the sales tax is down," said owner Susan Reents.

Five years ago, Susan Reents became the owner of Hotel Fredonia. She said it seemed and looked as if things were great over the past year, but there has been a lot of catching up to do.

"Financially this town is worse off than 2008 and 2009," Reents said. "I was turning this hotel around in 2009, 2010, and 2011. If we just would have stayed where we were in 2011, I wouldn't be standing here right now but when you go down 10 percent, which was $300,000 last year and now we're down another $200,000 this year."

Reents said all together roughly there's been a loss of $800,000.

"Nacogdoches needs the hotel. We need it to be alive, and well, and doing good for downtown and economic development," said former Nacogdoches mayor Roy Blake. "For that reason it was sad to hear that it's closing."

Because of the financial set backs 90 people lost their jobs Monday but many employees say they understand the decision Reents while others were upset.

"It's very disappointing and we're very upset because this is sort of the heartbeat of Nacogdoches," said Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation CEO Judy McDonald.

But this isn't the first time the hotel has closed. In the 80's the hotel was closed for nearly two years.

"When that happened the community came together and invested and brought it back, opened it up, added the convention center part," McDonald said.

Now, the community is hopeful others will come together once again to keep the historic site open.

"We're confident that it will re-open soon; hopefully sooner than later," McDonald said.

Reents has the same confidence.

"I hope that something will change but I've had it for five years, five months and two days, and I will have it longer," Reents said. "We have the ability to keep some things open; maybe Nine Flags. Texas State Bank will still be operating as normal. As far as the restaurant or any of the other facilities I'm not going to keep my staff there and not be able to pay them as things keep slowing down."

Reents said all future booked events and reservations will be handled this week.

The hotel was opened in 1955. It won the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce Large Business of the Year award in 2012.

In a September 2012 interview, Reents said the then-recently opened Nacogdoches County Civic Center had cut into the hotel's once-reliable bookings, to the tune of $700,000.

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