A recent announcement about a new hotel being built in St. Stephen is certainly great news and something we have hoped would happen for many years. It does not just happen that a developer decides to plunk a new hotel in a particular location, as much as we want it to happen and believe it should be successful. The developer who is interested must satisfy themselves and their financiers that the hotel will be profitable over the long term. In larger cities it is an easier sell because of the population base and the greater number of businesses. There usually are a number of existing hotels and their success can be used as a justification for a new one. In a smaller community like St. Stephen it is more difficult and takes a lot longer. But we are over that hurtle and we need to thank the developers for their confidence in us.
Why will a hotel be good for us? First and foremost it will support events at the GCC which could not previously be held because of event conditions requiring a certain number of hotel rooms, of a certain description, within a certain number of miles. Many large sporting events have that requirement so that the athletes and fans can get accommodations without a great deal of travel – not our rules but a condition of being awarded many events. Second, a hotel on the highway will draw in people who will now spend the night and perhaps eat in our restaurants or shop in our stores. Third, there will be dozens of new jobs created. And lots more reasons why a hotel and all the other things in the development – gas bar, restaurant, retail – will help our community thrive.
None of these advantages is a slight against the accommodations which we already have in St. Stephen. We need and appreciate them very much. We need critical mass which means having more of something (such as rooms available) which makes us more attractive and should help fill both new and existing rooms. The same story is told of retail – one is a store, several makes a shopping experience and greatly increases the success. We hope this will be true for all accommodation suppliers in the area.