Six years have been a tumultuous one for Morrissey Hospitality.
When company founder Bill Morrissey died of leukemia in 2016, it was unclear what the future held for the firm, which runs restaurants, hotels and event centers.
Ownership was transferred to Morrissey’s three children – Arthur, Chris and Elizabeth – but their father left some big shoes to fill.
Elizabeth Morrissey Brown, 33, currently vice president of business development and marketing for the company, didn’t even begin working for Morrissey Hospitality until 2018. We caught up with him recently as the company continues to grow, despite a lingering pandemic and lots of industry changes.
Morrissey Brown began his hospitality career outside of his father’s company. She was a wine and spirits distributor for Johnson Brothers. This was after attending college in Colorado.
Morrissey Brown said, “I didn’t really know these cities as an adult, let alone as a business professional.” “I credit that time in wine delivery for helping me get to know the hospitality industry. It was an amazing learning experience and provided me immense professional growth. ,
She’s still in that learning phase, working under President Richard Dobransky, a 30-year hospitality industry veteran.
They’ve both overseen some rapid growth lately for the company, which signed on to five new restaurants just before the pandemic hit. Throughout 2020, he kept his head down and did what he could.
“We are lucky that our company, most of us survived,” Morrissey Brown said.
As local businesses “began to raise their heads,” Morrissey Brown said, the company was in a unique position to help struggling restaurants and hotels build back—better.
“As we were negotiating and sharing best practices with people, what we found was a great opportunity to assist other hospitality businesses,” she said. “Many restaurants and hotels are very thin. We started looking for ways to complement each other’s businesses.”
This means launching an a la carte suite of services – from HR to accounting to finance services.
“It’s a lot to offer in a one-stop shop,” said Morrissey Brown.
The strategy paid off with lots of new customers. In fact, over the past three years, the size of the company’s portfolio has tripled.
Since the pandemic, the company has added Admiral D’s Waterfront Tavern in White Bear Lake, Freight House in Stillwater, New Bohemia locations in St. Paul and Plymouth, Seventh Street Truck Park in St. Paul and the recently opened Momento in St. Paul Is.
And just last month, Morrissey announced it would acquire the Water Street Inn in Stillwater.
In total, the company manages 19 brands, including The St. Paul Hotel and St. Paul’s Grill, Tria and St. Paul River Center in North Oaks.
Morrissey said recent growth has been rapid, and the company is not looking for new customers at this time.
“For this year, we are looking to slow the roll. However, we have always liked to sell and create guest experiences for people,” Morrissey said.
She said she is proud of what the company has been able to achieve despite the turmoil.
“My father was my mentor… and it is about continuing his mission, vision and the culture he has created. What sets Morrissey apart from other companies is that we are managers of the hospitality industry. We are known for our service and we pride ourselves on the longevity of our customers,” said Morris. “We want to be exceptional every time. This is our mission statement and this is our standard.”