Ramada Inn shuts its doors

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 29, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; After months of rumors, the Ramada Inn Hilltop closed its doors for good Tuesday, leaving employees wondering where they would go.

The owners, a mortgage holding company, made the decision to close the hotel, said Bonnie Stanley, regional director for operations for Crescent, the company managing the hotel.

The hotel was supposed to have been sold Tuesday, she said, but the buyers, whom she said she did not know, asked for a 10-day extension.

Email newsletter signup

The buyers have asked for 30-day extensions since talks of a sale started Feb. 10, Stanley said.

She said plans were still to tear down part of the hotel, but she said she did not have any further details.

A group of employees were laid off in February when the restaurant was closed, Stanley said, and others were offered incentives to stay until the end.

&8220;A lot of them have worked here for a long time, and they didn&8217;t want to leave until they had to,&8221; Stanley said.

Many hotel employees spent their last day cleaning rooms and removing anything bearing the Ramada name.

Diane Stevens, director of housekeeping, said many employees did not know where they would work.

&8220;Some will go to the unemployment office, but I don&8217;t think some know what to do,&8221; Stevens said. &8220;They&8217;re just kind of lost. We&8217;ve known about (the sale) for some time, but I think it&8217;s hit hard, especially with the holidays coming up.&8221;

Stevens said she would stay home for a while and spend time with her husband, just out of the hospital.

&8220;After that, I&8217;ll start looking,&8221; she said, &8220;but there&8217;s not much to look at in Natchez.&8221;

Maintenance Engineer William King went from room to room, removing plaques with the Ramada name.

King said he has worked at the Ramada for 25 years, and he said he would stay on until it was sold to see if the new company would hire him.

&8220;We&8217;ll just see what happens,&8221; King said.

Joseph Johnson said he worked as a porter and maintenance worker for 26 years.

Johnson said he didn&8217;t have another job lined up and had no idea where he would go. He said he would start looking for a new job today.

&8220;Right now, we&8217;re just trying to find something,&8221; he said.