May 29, 2013
Greek Peak hires new hotel chief
Former manager of hotels in Pa. takes over operation of Hope Lake Lodge
VIRGIL — A new general manager took over Hope Lake Lodge & Indoor Waterpark at Greek Peak Tuesday.
Dwayne Spitzer replaced John Davies who had worked as the general manager at the hotel and condominium complex for about a year.
Marc Stemerman, one of the Virgil resort’s two new owners, said Spitzer had a preferred management style.
“Just with our vision, we thought that Dwayne would be a good fit for where we’re headed,” Stemerman said.
Stemerman and his business partner, John Meier, both from Elmira, bought Greek Peak, including the hotel, water park, ski resort and adventure center, for $7.6 million April 19 through a bankruptcy auction.
Spitzer, of Oneida in Madison County, said he was the vice president of Twin Tier Hospitality, a company that owns 13 hotels in the Sayre, Pa.-area, for the past eight years.
Previously, he worked as the vice president of sales and marketing at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, Oneida County, Spitzer said.
Greek Peak’s future opportunities are what attracted Spitzer to the resort.
“Well, it’s a great facility,” Spitzer said. “It certainly has two owners that are excited and moving forward and I want to be part of that movement.”
Stemerman said that he and Meier did not know Spitzer before he contacted them to offer his services in mid-April.
“Nope. Not at all,” Stemerman said. “He reached out to us. We interviewed him twice. We definitely thought he would help us with our vision.”
No other administration changes have been made at the resort, Stemerman said, adding that the former owner, president and CEO Al Kryger is acting as an advisor to the new owners and his son, Wes Kryger, is overseeing the resort’s operations.
Even though no layoffs have happened or are planned, the resort’s bankruptcy and sale have left employees nervous about their jobs, Stemerman said.
“It didn’t exactly create a sense of stability,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to undo right now.”
The Krygers had a “lean” staff at Greek Peak, Stemerman said, and more jobs may need to be added in accounting to help deal with the complexities of the resort’s bankruptcy and sale.
The new owners are going through departments, analyzing workers’ talents and “occasionally” making changes, but are pleased with the overall team, Stemerman said.
“I mean, there’s some real superstars up there,” he said.
Spitzer echoed Stemerman’s enthusiasm.
“It’s a great team here and we plan to keep it that way,” he said.
Spitzer plans to focus on customers as he takes over the hotel’s operations.
“I think at this point, it’s just trying to get the place refocused and attention on customer service,” said Spitzer, 65, adding that he plans to utilize his sales and marketing experience in the post.
Greek Peak was sold at auction after the resort fell into financial distress carrying about $47 million in debt. Tennessee Commerce Bank, Greek Peak’s primary lender, failed and was taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. following a mild winter in 2012 that left the resort, best known for its skiing, with little business.
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