There’s a company that has re-established headquarters in Wichita thanks in part to Choice Hotels International’s acquisition of WoodSpring Suites earlier this year.
Nationwide Hotel Management Co., a management company for a franchisee group with 107 WoodSpring Suites, had been transitioning to North Carolina under previous leadership.
Now, it has re-established its headquarters in the previous WoodSpring Hotels space at 8621 E. 21st St.
“It’s where it all started,” says Kevin Dailey, president and COO.
“That’s where the lifeblood of the company is and where most of our employees are.”
WoodSpring began as Value Place, a company that Wichitan Jack DeBoer founded in 2003, and it’s been through a lot of leadership and ownership changes since then.
“There’s just been a lot of uncertainty and angst, I think, particularly with the employees in Wichita,” says Scott Frey, a Nationwide partner who joined Value Place in 2008.
“They’ve been fearful of what’s going to happen to their jobs long term.”
He and his four partners in the business say there’s a new stability with Nationwide.
“It just feels like we got our mojo back,” Frey says. “There’s renewed excitement . . . in the office.”
Nationwide grew out of a series of changes.
In 2013, DeBoer received a $100 million investment from New York-based private equity firm Lindsay Goldberg in order to grow the brand more quickly.
In 2015, Value Place rebranded to WoodSpring Suites.
In February this year, Maryland-based Choice acquired WoodSpring’s brand, franchise business and Wichita call center in a $231 million deal.
Of the 240 WoodSpring Suites, a private equity firm purchased 105. Other franchisees already owned the rest.
For a time, Lindsay Goldberg retained the management company for the 105 along with another dozen or so.
A different group then briefly handled the management until late September when Dailey, Frey and partners Mike Rediger, Nathan Beck and Jeff Huggins acquired it.
“Now, under the new structure, we are basically re-established in Wichita,” says Rediger, who joined WoodSpring in 2016.
Almost 20 employees work at the headquarters. Another few work remotely nationally. The company has a total of more than 1,000 employees with the headquarters and hotel properties combined.
Nationwide also has a few other WoodSpring Suites franchisee clients for a total portfolio of 115 hotels to manage.
“We’re going to grow,” Dailey says. “We’re adding resources as we speak.”
That includes new employees in human resources and IT locally and sales and revenue positions nationally.
“One of our main focuses is on really solidifying the foundation of the company,” says Beck, who joined Value Place in 2010.
He says that means adding employees, building infrastructure and being in a position to take on more hotel management contracts.
“We will as the right opportunities present themselves.”
He says there’s a commitment to the success of the company.
“A big part of it is we have a large group of people both in the office and in the field that have been with our organization a long time,” Beck says.
“They know we are committed long term because we’ve been there long term.”
All of the partners talk about “a people-first attitude.”
“That’s what the five of us are going to do,” says Huggins, who joined joined Value Place in 2012.
He says that’s from “our employees who are taking care of our guests to our accountants who are taking care of our bills.”
“That’s how Jack was successful,” he says of DeBoer.
“Jack didn’t talk to me or Nathan when he was visiting a property,” Huggins says.
He says DeBoer focused on employees who worked at each hotel.
“If you keep focus on the people, that’s going to bring it back full circle to where Jack was 12, 13 years ago.”
The company is working on a new logo and website. The sign at the headquarters still says WoodSpring Hotels.
“We have to work pretty quickly to change that, and we will,” Dailey says.
Dailey joined the company Oct. 1 and says his partners’ experience at Value Place and WoodSpring is a significant asset to Nationwide.
“These guys literally know where all the bones are buried.”
Dailey is in the process of moving to Wichita from Dallas.
“I wouldn’t take on a role . . . and not office and live where the corporate office is.”
He says he wants to be able to walk down the hall and see his team.
“Personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Dailey originally is from New Jersey.
“We don’t exactly have stellar reputations for friendliness and hospitality.”
He says he’s very happy to be in Wichita.
“People are exponentially more friendly than I’m used to,” he says. “It just feels like community.”