Kalispell Grand Hotel
In the decades she's managed the Kalispell Grand Hotel, Joann Schadewitz knew she would keep the business on the city's bustling Main Street. She's quick to point out that in all practicality, she has no choice in the matter since the hotel isn't going anywhere any time soon, but she is sure they would stay downtown regardless. "It's almost easier to name why you wouldn't want to do business downtown," Schadewitz said. "It is an extreme pleasure to do business downtown. People love to do come here and stay because it's easier to get to some of the best parts in the city."
Joann started managing the Kalispell Grand in 1994, after moving here from Vancouver, Washington and a career in communications. In the time since she's taken the helm, she said she's watched America's push-and-pull relationship with downtowns go through an interesting cycle. For a while, she said, many of the classic hotels in the downtowns of cities were transformed into office or permanent living spaces while the hotels went to new land to build up higher.
Now, the reverse is happening in many downtowns across America; the hotels are trying to get back into the city centers. "Downtowns are vibrant again," she said. In Kalispell, it makes sense to have a hotel at the city's core. Not only is it centrally located, but many of the city's locally owned small businesses are there as well. Instead of driving to a congested area to shop, her customers instead take time to peruse the unique shops and restaurants in the downtown corridor.
There are also plenty of opportunities to see some of the artwork created by the valley's wide range of artists, she noted, either in personal galleries or in stores along Main Street. "We have some wonderful places in downtown, we have it all in Kalispell."
And as a business manager downtown, Schadewitz's new mantra – "Doing a lot of things right and differently" – fits in well. She can do things other hotels can't, like making sure continental breakfast is ready at 4 a.m. for the one guest who needs to leave early, or making and baking their own goods for the continental breakfast.
"People have a good time staying here and they feel like we care – because we do – and they feel very much at home," Schadewitz said.