Published in The Times Tribune – Scranton, PA; June 22, 2014
At 75, Gus Genetti Is Still Going Strong by Denise Allabaugh
At age 75, Gus Genetti stays active running three hotels.
On Tuesday, he will be honored for his $3 million renovation of his Best Western Genetti Hotel and Conference Center in downtown Wilkes-Barre. He also operates hotels in Dickson City and Williamsport. The three hotels employ about 200.
The $2.7 million sale of the Ramada Inn on Public Square to King’s College for programs and student housing leaves Genetti’s as the only hotel remaining downtown. Mr. Genetti has stuck it out in downtown Wilkes-Barre for 50 years.
“I read the book, ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’ by Norman Vincent Peale when I was 18 and it changed my life,” Mr. Genetti said. “I just don’t give up.”
Best Western Genetti Hotel and Conference Center and Oyster Restaurant are among the “Pride of Place” award winners that will be honored at a Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry luncheon on Tuesday from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at the Westmoreland Club in Wilkes-Barre.
Genetti’s and D&D Realty of Wilkes-Barre both will win the Restoration/Renovation Award. D&D Realty is being awarded for creating 12 upscale condominiums and retail spaces at the “Residences of Hampton Park” at East Northampton and South Washington Streets in Wilkes-Barre.
Mr. Genetti completed a variety of projects at his downtown Wilkes-Barre hotel and conference center, including renovating its 72 rooms and adding new furniture as well as upgrading the front desk, lobby, hallways, the ballroom and convention space. Before Mr. Genetti’s father Gus Sr. purchased the downtwn Wilkes-Barre hotel in 1963, it was the Hotel Redington, built in 1906. His brother Bill operates Best Western Genetti Inn in Hazleton.
Despite heightened competition with several other Luzerne County hotels, such as the new $50 million hotel at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Mr. Genetti remains successful with his downtown Wilkes-Barre hotel.
“I don’t care how many hotels they build out there,” Mr. Genetti said. “The historic downtown brings people.”
Mr. Genetti and his wife, Val, live in Wilkes-Barre, and have six children and six grandchildren. He is active in several community organizations.
“I wish I knew what he put on his Cheerios every morning to remain so active and successful,” said Frank Pasquini, a Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association member who has an office in Genetti’s for consulting activities for non-proift organizations. “He has been one of the prime engines of the revitalization of downtown Wilkes-Barre.”
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