Grismer will now manage the Comfort Inn as well as the Ward.
The partnership will create opportunities for each business, Grismer said.
The Ward downtown has convention facilities and two restaurants, but only seven hotel rooms. The Comfort Inn on Sixth Avenue Southeast has 61 rooms, but no convention facilities or restaurant.
“By working together, we can come up with creative packages that emphasize the strengths of both places,” Grismer said. “The packages would include lodging, meals and possibly entertainment.”
For example, a group could stay at the Comfort Inn, use the meeting rooms and restaurants at the Ward and take advantage of the downtown nightlife.
“This could re-energize the convention business downtown,” he said. “It can help drive some business back downtown. The Ward was the original events center in Aberdeen.”
The Comfort Inn could benefit by filling rooms with patrons who want to use the Ward’s ballroom and meeting rooms.
The Ward is a popular place for wedding parties, Grismer said. Out-of-town guests quickly fill the Ward’s seven rooms and then must find accommodations at other places. Those customers could reserve a block of rooms at the Comfort Inn for a special rate.
“I think this is going to be good for both entities and good for downtown,” he said.
The owners of both the Ward and Comfort Inn are behind the alliance, Grismer said.
Tom Aman of Aberdeen is the principle shareholder of the Ward Hotel.
The Comfort Inn is owned by North Five LLC.
Rikesh Pate of Vermillion is the managing partner.
North Five bought the Comfort Inn in May from David Graham of Sioux Falls.
Grismer is very familiar with the Comfort Inn, having managed it from 2001 to 2006. At that time, it was owned by Dennis and Marilyn Maloney of Aberdeen.
Grismer will be assisted in the day-to-day operations at the Ward by Melissa Erlenbusch, who has been promoted from dining room manager to food and beverage manager, and at the Comfort Inn by Kristi Barrus, assistant general manager.