Veteran hotelier has no plans to retire

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Jimmy Pappas doesn’t deny his Clarion & Summit Center and the adjacent Rodeway Inn are for sale.
But he said he’s not pushing them very hard, and he also says he’s not trying to get out of the hospitality business he’s been in for nearly 40 years.
“My plan is to sell one or the other hotel and then to have something facing Gloster Street,” he said.
That “something” is a new hotel. But first, he has to find a buyer for one of his existing properties.
The Clarion amp& Summit Center – which includes a 65-room hotel and a separate conference center – is listed for $2.75 million. The 50-room Rodeway is listed for $1 million.
Pappas, who’s been in business since 1972, owns land between the Chevron and Comfort Engineering – about 7 acres – that he’d like to develop into a new hotel.
“I’d just like to get closer to Gloster Street,” he said.
The hotels and conference center have evolved through the years, having been a part of the former Ramada Inn and Conference Center complex.
In 2005, Pappas sold a large chunk of the property, keeping two hotel buildings and the conference center, and he renamed them The Summit. The other building – with more than 100 rooms – that Pappas sold became a Travelodge.
Two years ago, one of Pappas’ buildings was converted to a Rodeway Inn amp& Suites, while the rest of The Summit was renamed the Clarion Summit Center.
Then last year, Pappas renovated the Rodeway, including adding a guitar-shaped pool.
And a few months ago, the Travelodge unexpectedly was closed by its California owner.
Pappas, 69, said he has no interest in retiring anytime soon. Sellling either the Rodeway or Clarion will help him start his next project.
“I’m still loving this business very much,” he said. “I’ve been blessed with very good health … I’m not ready to quit.”
Pappas said an experienced staff – with some employees having been with him for 25 years or more – also has helped him run his businesses successfully.
dennis.seid@journalinc.com