The Dixon brothers know a thing or two about the hotel business. Bruce Dixon who lives in Glynn County and his brother, Otha Dixon, a resident of Vidalia, have been working in the industry for two decades.
It began when they started their company — Dixon Management Group — back in 1990. They soon opened their first hotel in Vidalia.
“Then we came to this market in ‘97 so this is our 20th year of operating and owning hotels here,” Bruce said, seated in their hotel, the Fairfield Inn and Suites, off Exit 38 in Brunswick.
The Fairfield Inn and Suites was their first local property, followed by the Holiday Inn next door.
“12 years ago we built the Holiday Inn full service next door,” he said.
A steady stream of traffic off the interstate as well as a flood of guests courtesy of the nearby Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) has helped fuel their success. And soon, the Dixons will again expand their property base.
“In June, we will be breaking ground on a new Holiday Inn Express, that will be right next door, in that vacant lot right there,” he said.
The hotel will offer just over 90 rooms, with roughly 25 employees. It will open in the spring of 2018, either in March or April.
“Holiday Inn Express and Suites ... it’s called a limited service hotel and I don’t really like that term,” Otha said.
“Not much limited to it, is there?” Bruce asked. “It will have an outdoor pool and a fitness center. It will be within walking distance from the Millhouse at the full service Holiday Inn.”
“It will have full, free breakfast with your stay and a Sunday shop,” Otha said.
The Dixons feel that the market, which has always supported them, is growing. That is, in no small part, due to the recent expansion around Exit 38. Just down the road, the Canal Crossing shopping center will soon be completed, with Sam’s Club opening its doors March 30. Other restaurants like Cheddar’s are also being constructed, adding to the regional appeal of the area.
For Bruce Dixon, who serves on a number of boards including the Brunswick and Glynn County Development Authority, the time seemed right to make that move.
“This market has been very good to us. This will be our third property here, and total, we will have about 300 rooms. We do a lot of corporate business and transient leisure business. We have a real healthy mix,” he said.
“But we feel that this market is growing. Because of all the retail brings, we’re getting more people stopping over. More retail brings more restaurants then you start seeing people on the interstate who want to stop where there is a mix of retail, restaurants and hotels.”
The Dixons are not planning on slowing down either. Once their Holiday Inn Express opens, they expect to start work on another location, which will operate under the Marriott flag.
“We have a plans for another hotel in this market in about 18 months,” Bruce said.
“That one, we’re going to put that one across the street here,” Otha added with a smile.