An I-5 corridor entrepreneur will be making a mark on Sequim in the coming year. Andy Cho of Auburn purchased the Sequim Days Inn in April and has turned it into a Red Lion Inn &Suites, a franchise affiliate of the company-owned Port Angeles hotel.
At just 36, Cho owns a Best Western Hotel in Auburn, a management company and a construction firm.
“It was for sale and I decided to buy it because it was something new and it was a good opportunity,” Cho said. “Sequim came about because we (Big Boy Construction) were renovating a Port Townsend hotel and I’d never been out this far. I heard good things about Sequim.”
Cho said he was impressed by the number of national retail enterprises in Sequim while it retains its small-town atmosphere. He grew up on a 10-acre property on the outskirts of Biloxi, Miss., and appreciates the rural life.
“It’s a different feeling than living in the city — which I miss,” Cho said. “In a small town you don’t have traffic, pollution or rude people on the road in the environment.”
Cho explained that he became a Red Lion franchisee with the Sequim property because he knew he’d get good support from the corporately owned Port Angeles Red Lion. He also noted that Red Lion hotels are “upper mid-scale” while Days Inn is “lower mid-scale” lodging.
The hotel has 60 rooms, four of which are suites. Amenities include a swimming pool and hot tub and Cho will be adding a fitness center. All rooms are non-smoking but there will continue to be a smoking area on the property. Pets are welcome for a fee.
“Purchasing this property, I knew I’d renovate it anyway because it is outdated. Pretty much everything in the rooms, from floor to ceiling, will be renovated and the common areas,” Cho said. “Renovation will start in September and I hope to have it fully done by next summer.”
Cho said he’s still going through the process of getting designs and the renovation budget approved by the corporation, but definitely knows he will replace the carpeting with laminate wood flooring because it’s a cleaner product. His construction company will do the work one floor at a time and Cho said guests won’t be impacted.
“It will be a brand new hotel when it’s done,” he said. “I’m very excited to be in the city of Sequim and to show that once the renovation is done, it will be a very nice hotel.
“I love the hospitality industry because we’re still being interactive with guests. We treat them like they’re coming to see our house. My example is if you’re in your house and a random guy walks in, would you ignore him? We’re in this industry because we love people — the definition of hospitality is to serve.”
Cho will continue to live in Auburn and some of the operations will be overseen by members of his management team.