New owners nestle in to Detroit Lakes hotel
America's Best Value Inn in Detroit Lakes has new owners greeting you at the door. Paul Chaudhari and his wife, Bina are the new owners and managers of the hotel, along with Chaudhari's parents, Nick and Ani. The family purchased the business las...
America’s Best Value Inn in Detroit Lakes has new owners greeting you at the door.
Paul Chaudhari and his wife, Bina are the new owners and managers of the hotel, along with Chaudhari’s parents, Nick and Ani.
The family purchased the business last month, which had them making the move from where they were living in Chicago to Detroit Lakes.
But this isn’t the first move the Chaudhari family has made. America’s Best Value Inn now has owners that come with some worldly charm.
The ‘American’ dream
When Paul Chaudhari moved to the United States from his native country of India, he was 12. His father had made the move first a few years prior.
“He (Nick) was working in Dunkin’ Donuts, then a factory, then he started his own remodeling business,” said Chaudhari, who made the move to Chicago with his mother and sister in 1994.
“I loved American culture,” said Chaudhari, who went back to India in 2003 to marry Bina and bring her back to the United States with him.
In 2006, the Chaudharis, along with a family friend, worked to purchase a Super 8 in Dubois, Wyoming.
This is where Paul Chaudhari learned the ins and outs of managing a hotel. Although he says he loved Wyoming, it would not be the family’s last stop.
After moving back to Chicago and buying a Papa John’s Pizza, Paul and Bina Chaudhari decided that kind of a business was not for them, as their family was growing. By this time, they had two young sons.
“It was too hard for me and my wife to run because we were working all the time and didn’t get to spend very much time with the kids,” said Chaudhari, who says the family really wanted to get back into the hotel business. It was one that was much more conducive to family life.
They also wanted out of Chicago.
“It’s so expensive there; we wanted a place where we could make a good living instead of work, work, work for nothing,” said Paul Chaudhari.
An internet search for their next dream brought them to Detroit Lakes, where America’s Best Value Inn was up for sale.
“So we came here in May to look at the property,” said Bina Chaudhari, who says she and Paul liked what they saw in the hotel and in the community.
“It was the perfect size town and perfect size school for the kids,” said Paul Chaudhari.
By the time financing was completed, it was winter, and the Chaudhari family was moving to Detroit Lakes.
“It’s cold, but that’s ok because I love the snow, I love the cold,” said Bina, smiling. “It’s perfect. No crowding, no crime. I love it.”
Last month the family moved into the hotel, where they will live while operating it.
“I like it because I can cook for the family right here, I stay here, I work here, I can be here to help teach the kids – this is why I love the hotel business,” said Bina. “It’s like we’re living in a big house with 38 bedrooms, so we can spend time with the kids,” added Paul.
Even Nick and Ani Chaudhari made the trip up to Detroit Lakes, where they live and help now and then with the new hotel.
“But they’re pretty close to retiring now,” said Paul Chaudhari. “So they want to do some traveling.”
With the boys, 5 and 10, now settled into school and Paul and Bina getting to know their new hotel and its seven employees, the Chaudharis are now ready to begin thinking about the future of their new business.
“I know a lot of hotels are hurting, and it takes a lot of effort to run one,” said Paul Chaudhari. “And I know the challenge is wintertime, but there is always going to be challenge when you own your own business.”
The Chaudharis are beginning to put their own mark on the hotel, as they prepare for a large remodeling project.
The hotel is getting new carpet, new paint, bathroom upgrades, new curtains and new TV’s. The project is expected to be completed by summer.
And despite the fact that there isn’t exactly a large Indian population in Detroit Lakes like there was in Chicago, the Chaudharis say they’re feeling at home.
“People have been so nice here – everybody is so helpful,” said Bina Chaudhari.
We want to make this our home,” added Paul Chaudhari. “Hopefully everything works out for us because we want to make this our home, raise our kids here, and really be part of the community.”