• Stafford’s Hospitality Begins a New Chapter

    POSTED July 13, 2021

For the last six decades, Stafford’s Hospitality has provided waterfront dining and historic lodging throughout Northern Michigan. Now Stafford’s is entering a new chapter with the retirement of both Stafford Smith, the company’s founder, and Dudley Marvin, Stafford’s longtime business partner and former president of the company.

Taking over the reins is Reginald (Reg) Smith, Stafford’s eldest son, who has been named the new chairman. Starting at a young age, Reg has worked in nearly every capacity of the business and he will continue to lead the hotels. The generational ties are being extended, with Andrew Smith, Reg’s son and Stafford’s grandson, currently the rooms manager at Stafford’s Perry Hotel, representing the third generation of management.

“We are in the business to create memories for other people,” Stafford Smith says. “And we have achieved that for 60 years. It is time to hand over the keys to the next generation of owners.”

“I look forward to continuing the family legacy of hospitality and now sharing that with my son,” Reg says.

In further news, Brian Ewbank has been named president and CEO of the company. Ewbank began his career at Stafford’s in 1981, working alongside his cousin – Stafford – in catering. After completing college and managing chain restaurant Mountain Jack’s in both Detroit and Southwest Michigan, he returned to Stafford’s full-time in 1998 to manage Stafford’s Pier Restaurant. He went on to gain deep experience in all aspects of food and beverage, and he became a partner of Stafford’s in 2005. Ewbank will oversee all company operations, including lodging, dining, sales and administration.

In addition, long-time managing partner, Butch Paulsen, has been named vice president. Paulsen began his career 46 years ago, as part of the Commercial Foods Program during high school.

Stafford’s Hospitality has locations in four communities – Alanson, Charlevoix, Harbor Springs and Petoskey. The Perry Hotel, Bay View Inn and Crooked River Lodge can all accommodate group gatherings. The largest meeting space is the Rose Garden Verdana at The Perry Hotel, which as a capacity of 400 guests.  Staffords.com

The Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth changes its name to Saint John’s Resort in August.

It’s part of a rebranding with multiple enhancements that Director of Sales and Marketing Fadi Sibani says make it a true Detroit destination resort.

Formerly owned by the Archdiocese of Detroit as St. John’s Provincial Seminary from 1948 to 1988, the property was transformed in the 1990s as a center for youth and families before it was redeveloped into a hotel and conference center in the 2000s. 


First came COVID. Then came the tornado.

The northern Michigan community of Gaylord was just starting to rebound from the pandemic with its groups and events business as a new season was getting underway when a rare EF3 tornado with estimated wind speeds between 136 and 165 miles per hour struck May 20.

Two people were killed and at least 44 were injured, according to official reports at the time. West Michigan meteorologist Bill Steffen said it was the strongest tornado to strike in the U.S. that month. 


Six months ago, Detroit’s TCF Center got a new name—Huntington Place. Now the convention center is getting striking new public art—an outdoor sculpture by acclaimed artist Scott Hocking. The 15-foot diameter bronze sculpture, Floating Citadel, will be located in the main circle drive of Huntington Place in downtown Detroit. The installation of the sculpture is expected to be complete by late summer. Renderings and images are available here