By Justin Boron
At a glance, the Country Inn & Suites in Morrow appears to be run by a congenial and soft-spoken woman. Everyday, the small-framed Indian woman greets customers, makes reservations, handles administrative tasks, and even changes the occasional room.
But Dee Patel, 29, is more than just a affable hotel manager.
That hospitality, which comes with the 13 years of hotel management experience, veils a drive and aggressive entrepreneurial sprit that isn't immediately visible in casual conversation.
With her husband Sam, she is growing what could eventually become a small business empire. Already the couple has developed a successful hotel in Clayton County's commercial hot spot. They are about to open Boston's, a gourmet pizza restaurant and sports bar, right next door to their hotel.
“When it comes to business, I'm very aggressive,” Patel said.
She said she goes into overdrive when the hotel gets corporate calls for conventions or business travel because accommodating them is incredibly important to business.
“I put everything aside,” Patel said. “I'll put all my time into that.
“Running a 24-hour business, you have to be ready at any time,” she said. When the hotel first opened, she said she was up to doing anything.
“I was ready to clean a room anytime. I was ready to do laundry anytime,” she said.
Patel migrated from India when she was 14. She went to high school in North Carolina and later assisted her uncle in his hotel business in Tennessee. Having married her husband six years ago, Patel is raising a 3-year old daughter, Mira.
Patience, she said, is one of the attributes she said has benefited her business and personal life the most.
“It helps me with my employees. It helps me with my daughter,” Patel said.
Community service also has been a large part of Patel's life.
She said her family in Gujrat, India had a strong background in community service. In Clayton County, she is part of several civic organizations and community groups like Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Rotary Club.
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