WESTPORT, MA. (November 14, 2012) –Downtown New Bedford Inc. recognized Richard Lafrance, President and CEO of Lafrance Hospitality Company, as their 2012 Person of the Year during the annual meeting, held at the Waypoint Event Center on October 24, 2012. The award is an annual recognition to a person who has made a positive impact in downtown New Bedford. The DNB, Inc. Board of Directors felt that Richard’s commitment, foresight and bravery in the financial commitment that he and Lafrance Hospitality took in bringing the Fairfield Inn & Suites to New Bedford is tremendous. Tim Burkhardt, Vice President of Hotels, said “Richard has the ability to see a vision of what something could be compared to how it is today, and the motivation to bring it to life.
Mr. Lafrance first proposed building a hotel in downtown New Bedford in 2007 and encountered considerable skepticism. Richard’s son, Christian Lafrance, accepted the award on his behalf and described his father as a determined person who is not often deterred by others’ uncnty. The hotel opened in 2010, followed by the adjoining Waypoint Event Center later that year.
Lafrance Hospitality Company owns Christian’s Catering and five restaurant/banquet facilities: White’s of Westport, Ten Cousins Brick Oven, Rachel’s Lakeside, Bittersweet Farm Restaurant and Tavern and the Waypoint Event Center at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott. It also owns the Hampton Inn & Suites of Plymouth, Ma., the Comfort Inn & Suites of Dover, New Hampshire, and the Comfort Inn & Suites of Farmington/Wilton, Maine. The company owns or operates two Hampton Inns, in Westport, Ma., and Dover, New Hampshire, as well as a Homewood Suites by Hilton, in Dover, New Hampshire. Most recently, the company built and opened a Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, in New Bedford, Ma and has acquired a Holiday Inn Express in Milford, Ma.