Tale of Two Cities’ Hotels

When I received an invitation to visit Branson, Mo., in October, I was excited to accept. I wrote about the trip in this blog and I’m writing the story for print, as a Travel Journal in the January/February 2014 issue of Evansville Living, this week.

Not only would I visit the legendary Ozark Mountain town, but I planned to connect with the folks at HCW LLC, the Branson-headquartered developer of Evansville’s newest Downtown hotel, a Doubletree Hilton set to open in 2015.

I reached out to the City of Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke; his staff helped me contact HCW Vice President of Operations Robert Allen to establish an interview. With help from the public relations firm to the city of Branson who had arranged my trip, an interview with HCW LLC CEO Richard Huffman was set for Oct. 18, at its headquarters. I would have to miss visiting Branson’s Silver Dollar City.

HCW LLC is headquartered in its own development, situated on the Payne Stewart Golf Club. Allen greeted me and shared the HCW story through large format “beauty” shots of the company’s development — and indeed they are beautiful.

Erin Meyer, a reporter for WFIE-TV 14 News, drove to Branson that day to tape the interview for the station’s ongoing coverage of the hotel development. When Huffman arrived, Meyer and I talked with him, on tape, for more than 60 minutes. You can read the interview in the December/January issue of Evansville Business. These were among his first impressions of Evansville: The University of Evansville men’s and women’s basketball teams play in the Missouri Valley Conference; our city looks old driving in from the airport; our business leaders lead; our mayor never gives up; and the Ford Center is world class. Groundbreaking for the hotel, conference center, and residences is set for Jan. 23.

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