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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.
In January 1975 while honeymooning in Mazatlan, Mexico, Joyce and Warren Barnes fell in love with the beautiful and quaint seaside city.
Seeing a business opportunity, in 1980 they purchased a small 40-unit hotel on the Mazatlan beach in partnership with their friends Wayne and Shirley Thornton. In the course of developing the joint business venture, Wayne was killed in a tragic airplane accident, and later the Barnes purchased the Thornton family's interests in the business.
Since that time Warren and Joyce have steadily grown their business, and today, the Inn at Mazatlan has a total of 215 suites including a recently completed 16-story high rise, with a popular seaside restaurant, two swimming pools and a luxurious state-of-the-art spa. Warren tells me around 130,000 visitors from the United States, Canada and Mexico visit the Inn at Mazatlan every year.
As I visited with Warren, I wondered about the logistics of running a business that is 2,000 miles away and in another country no less. Warren says the key is to have top level management in Mexico. Almost all of the 220 resort staff members are Mexican nationals and are highly trained. The language barrier was a problem at first, but between bilingual staff members and learning Spanish themselves, the Barnes have overcome that obstacle.
The Inn at Mazatlan has had a significant impact on the tiny city. Currently, Mazatlan is undergoing a huge expansion. Before they built the hotel, Warren says the area was quite primitive, and the coastline wasn't very picturesque. The Inn has helped turn the area into a garden spot and even attracted more hotels.
All three of the Barnes' children are now involved with the Inn at Mazatlan. Although Warren feels the project is complete, his children are anxious to see the inn expand to other areas of Mexico, with the Mazatlan location as the nucleus of the development.
For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.