09/02/12 — New hotel welcoming guests to Mount Olive

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New hotel welcoming guests to Mount Olive

By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 2, 2012 1:50 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Nearly 200 people were on hand Thursday afternoon for ribbon-cutting ceremonies for the new $5 million Sleep Inn and Suites on N.C. 55.

The event included hors d'oeurves, games with prizes and tours of the hotel that has been open since July.

"It is certainly a wonderful turnout," said Kevin Kornegay, president of the Kornegay Co., which built the hotel. "They all came at one time. I thought it was going to slow there for a minute. We appreciate everyone being here and we are proud of all of the partnerships we have had with folks in Mount Olive.

"It makes you feel good, and like I said, it would not have been possible without the partnerships we have with people in the community. It is possible through our relationship with the college, the pickle company and some of the other folks around town. Four or five years ago I would never have dreamed. I mean I always wanted to do this because I felt like our other building, time was passing it by, but it didn't make good sense until we were able to put this thing together."

His sister, Stephanie Kornegay, manages the property built by Thomas Builders Inc. of Niota, Tenn.

The new hotel was built behind the old Southern Belle Motel, which was demolished earlier this summer.

The 15-year-old Sleep Inn on Michael Martin Boulevard at Henderson Street has been leased to Mount Olive College for dormitory space.

The new hotel has 88 rooms, 20 more than the older Sleep Inn. Of that number, 26 are suites -- something the other building did not have.

The standard rooms types are about 50 percent larger than in the old building, and the meeting space went from about 350 square feet to about 1,200.

The breakfast and television common area is considerably larger, Kornegay said.

"I guess we didn't know a lot about hotels when we built the other one," he said. "We enjoyed it there, and it was a nice property. But having that 15 years experience made some of those things that we wanted to do here differently -- the bigger room types as well as the larger common space that I would call it."

The pool is located at the rear of the building where work is continuing on a covered patio area that has a gas grill. It should be completed within the next three weeks.

"Our meeting space adjoins the patio area," Kornegay said. "We have a gas grill out there that we have tanks available for our guests if they want to come and use it, or if we have parties in our meeting space, and they need to use it. All of it adjoins our outdoor pool."

Prior to the ribbon-cutting, Kornegay said the new hotel had been made possible by all of the partnerships the company had with individuals and organizations in Mount Olive and the county.

"It has been an experience and we have learned a lot," he said. "We have come a long way over the years and without the partnership with the college it would never have been possible at the older building as well as here to develop the new building.

"They have certainly been supportive to say the least. We have worked hand in hand. They have used our facilities and now we hope we have got them set up in another building that is going to work out wells for years to come."

Kornegay said county commissioners and the town had been good as well.