BY TRACY ZOLLINGER TURNER
When Paul Pruitt and Mae Siffin, a husband-and-wife team who specialize in real estate development, surveyed Bloomington’s hotel landscape in 2011, they knew they could add something distinctive to the mix. “We wanted to build the best hotel in Bloomington,” Pruitt says without hesitation.
In partnership with Kelly Mulder, a fellow real estate developer from Westfield, Indiana, Pruitt and Siffin established KPM Hotel Group. In 2014, the trio opened their first property, SpringHill Suites by Marriott in Bloomington. White Lodging Services Corporation, a national hotel management company based in Merrillville, Indiana, runs the five-story, 158-room hotel at 501 N. College.
In 2017, the hotel won Marriott Hotel of the Year for the SpringHill brand—the best of 392 properties across North America.
“We were all just blown away by that,” Siffin says of the top ranking, especially considering the larger markets against which the hotel competes. The rankings do consider strong financial performance, Siffin says. “But the most important thing they consider is guest satisfaction.”
The element Pruitt and Siffin believe likely pushed the hotel to the top was the hands-on involvement of the local owners and managers. “It’s the social impact of trying to add something to the community—not only focusing on profitability—that makes us unique,” Siffin says.
For example, the hotel has hosted several Art Nights. “We bring some local artists together to display their wares and have a great party with live music and food,” Pruitt says. They also open the hotel’s meeting spaces to local organizations such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington, and partner with Indiana University, regularly working with six to eight hospitality program interns.
Pruitt is a Bloomington native. Siffin is from Hawaii. The two met through a development project in San Francisco and married in 2007. After a few years in Miami Beach, Florida, “Paul wanted to get back to home,” Siffin says.
The KPM Hotel Group will open its second SpringHill Suites in Westfield, Indiana, in 2019. Unlike the Bloomington location, bars and restaurants are not nearby, so an establishment called The Oak Bar will be part of the project. The bar will feature handcrafted cabinetry by Bloomington artisans. “We hope to replicate our success in Westfield, and would love to find other opportunities in Bloomington,” Pruitt says.