Local 'hospitality gems' recognized alongside Ritz-Carleton

Zoe Greszler • Feb 3, 2019 at 6:00 PM

Two bed-and-breakfast spots have proven once again that they are Norwalk’s hospitality “gems,” according to AAA East Central.

Both the Georgian Manor Inn and Victorian Lady once again have exceeded high expectations, going above and beyond the requirements set in place by AAA. These establishments have been awarded the AAA Four Diamond Awards for their extensive amenities, opulent décor, upscale physical attributes and high degrees of hospitality, service, and attention to detail.

The Victorian Lady is celebrating seven straight years being recognized as an ideal spot for a luxurious stay. The Georgian Manor Inn is just one year shy of having two decades worth of the award under its belt. 

“Four Diamond hotels provide guests with the comfort of knowing they can expect some of the highest amenities available,” said Jim Lehman, president of AAA East Central. “These establishments meet the high standards of AAA inspectors and are committed to providing every guest with personalized experiences and attentive service.”

Those standards and inspections are no walk in the park, the hotel owners said, adding that the expectations have naturally raised.

“We’ve been a a Four Diamond recipient since 2000. At that time there was only 10 or 12 places in Ohio on the list, including the Ritz-Carleton,” said Gene Denney, of Georgian Manor Inn-B & B, 123 W. Main St. Today there are 20 hotels on the list. 

When asked what it how the Georgian Manor has kept this celebrated designation for so many years, Denney said “it takes money” and diligence. He explained that AAA provides a list of criteria they’re expected to maintain. Denney said perhaps the most difficult aspect of the process is the inspection, which can be anonymous. 

“An inspector will come and they will stay overnight and you don’t know who they are,” he said. “They will actually leave and come back and tell you ‘Oh, by the way, I’m the AAA-inspector.’ So it’s not an easy award to get.”

Georgian Manor intends to try its best to make the two-decade mark. Denney said he’d be “very disappointed” if something happened to get in the way of such a milestone. 

“It is a prestigious award, particularly for lodgings,” he said. “We just keep updating things to make sure that we are compliant with the requirements. Like, we recently we increased the size of our TVs to meet those requirements.” 

The Victorian Lady-B & B, 175 W. Main St., earned its first award in 2012 and continued to do so consecutively since then. 

Owners Tim and Vickie Dauch said they were excited to earn the award again.

“It makes you feel good, it’s not just automatic that it happens,” Vickie Dauch said. “This time AAA has stiffened up on some of their guidelines it makes it a little harder to qualify, especially as a bed and breakfast.”

Those strict standards make a difference though, she said. 

“For one thing, it’s just the luxury items, everything is upscale and the service that we provide for everybody (is a quality service),” she said. “We tend to be flexible for people as far as their schedules too.”

This could be the Victorian Lady’s last year though receiving the award, depending on what the future holds as the business just passed its first six months being listed for sale. 

“We’re still for sale,” Dauch said. “We’ve had a few people (who) have come through that were really interested, but for some reason or another it didn’t work out. So we changed our approach a little bit, so people realized that if they didn’t want it with everything as a business, they could buy it as a large house as well. If someone just wanted to buy it as an empty house, they could do that, but they can also have all the furniture and the business aspect — that’s an option as well.” 

Hotels at the Four Diamond level represent just 6.3 percent of AAA Inspected & Approved hotels, making them an exclusive group. This year, there are 1,722 Four Diamond hotels.


Ohio employers receive $892K in workplace safety grants

To help increase worker safety, 35 employers throughout the state, including Oglesby Construction Inc., will share $891,979 in grants.

The monies from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) will be used to purchase equipment designed to substantially reduce or eliminate workplace injuries and illnesses.

Oglesby Construction, 1600 U.S. 20, earned $24,499.13 of that sum for two track buggy pivot dumps. The dumps will reduce the risk of injuries related to hand force, awkward postures, contact stress, push/pull and manual materials handling. These risks pose a real danger to the full-service concrete construction and pavement marking company.

“This is money well spent and I am pleased to announce these grants today,” said BWC administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud. “When employers invest in safety, they have fewer workplace injuries and related expenses, saving dollars they can use to grow their businesses and help Ohio prosper. When that happens, we all win.”

The safety intervention grant program matches an employer’s investment 3-to-1 up to a maximum of $40,000. Quarterly data reports and follow-up case studies measure the effectiveness of employers’ safety interventions and establish best practices for accident and injury prevention. Learn more about the grant program at https://info.bwc.ohio.gov.


Retirement workshop 

WILLARD — Donald M. Graham & Associates, an independent financial firm with 40-plus years of experience in the industry, has scheduled a retirement workshop at 7 p.m. March 7 at the Willard offices, 205 Myrtle Ave.

Those interested can RSVP at 419-933-2018, toll free at 800-322-6116 or register at  www.grahamassoc.co/retirementseminars.


Turnpike gains free-flow traffic

Even with 54.3 million vehicles traveling more than 3 billion vehicle miles on the Ohio Turnpike in 2018, the 241-mile toll road was free from traffic backups 99.86 percent of the time in 2018.

For the fourth year in a row, customers using the turnpike traveled more than 3 billion vehicle miles. The total of 54.3 million vehicles in 2018 was slightly lower (1.6 percent) than the record amount from 2017, which was 55.2 million vehicles (passenger cars and commercial vehicles, combined).

In 2018, the turnpike also recorded the third greatest number of vehicle miles traveled in its history with 3.034 billion. This was only 2.6 million fewer miles traveled than in the record year, 2006.

“Customers expect safe and efficient travel and we delivered excellent value for their tolls in 2018 with an increase in our free-flowing traffic,” interim executive director Martin Seekely said.

All reported traffic delays encountered by customers declined in 2018 to 201, compared to 230 in 2017. The types of delays measured are those caused by contractor and maintenance work zones, traffic crashes on or near the turnpike, backups at toll plazas and rolling road blocks.

Among the reasons for improvements in traffic flow were:

• Continued use of night-time work in construction and maintenance zones when traffic volumes are lower, which keeps more lanes open during daytime travel;

• Enforcement by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, including aerial enforcement of speed limits in construction zones;

• Use of dynamic message boards to slow vehicles in construction zones;

• Increased communication with customers about work zones and the importance of safety, including driving without distractions.

• Use of LED speed limit warning signs in lanes at busy toll plazas (exits 71, 161 and 218).

Significant statistics for E-ZPass include a 5.1-percent gain in the percentage of total traffic that used E-ZPass on the Ohio Turnpike.


Prepped for near-record gas usage

Columbia Gas of Ohio said it is working hard to continue delivering safe and reliable service. With the cold days of winter still ahead, the gas company urged customers and residents to be safe, especially as record-setting usage is expected in the near future.

Natural gas usage is expected to be 75 percent higher than a typical winter day, Columbia Gas said. In fact, usage may approach the all-time record set in January 1994.

Columbia Gas though said it is prepared. Its gas control center will monitor the system and is able to notice any potential problems in real time. The company also said field crews are monitoring the system at regulator stations around the state. Service crews will be ready to respond to any emergency, should they be needed.

There are some things you can do to increase the safety of your home and avoid emergencies.

Protect against CO2

• Install carbon monoxide detectors. Some models double as smoke detectors.

• Have all appliances serviced by a professional.

• Never burn charcoal or run a generator indoors or in an enclosed space.

• Never heat your home with your oven or range.

• Clean chimney and check for blockage, especially with wood-burning fireplaces and stoves.

Stop, leave, call

Columbia Gas urged customers to know how to recognize the smell of natural gas. An additive known as mercaptan gives it a rotten-egg odor. Think you smell natural gas?

• Stop what you are doing.

• Leave the area immediately.

• Call 9-1-1 and Columbia Gas at 1-800-344-4077 from a safe place.


If you have an item for the business roundup column, send the information to the Norwalk Reflector in care of Zoe Greszler, 61 E. Monroe St., Norwalk, Ohio 44857, or email it to [email protected]

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