People of the El Moore Lodge
The El Moore holds within it’s walls many of the things that I’ve loved about living and working in Detroit for the past 15 years. I love being at the intersection of Detroit’s past and it’s future and the El Moore is certainly iconic of that. I enjoy hearing people’s’ stories, and being able to share a piece of myself and Detroit with everyone that comes through the door at the El Moore. When you first walk into the parlor there is a definite interest in what’s going on here, it just feels that you’re in a special place. But it isn’t until we show guests the rooms that they really experience the care we’ve taken to restore the El Moore. And then when I walk visitors to the rooftop balcony to see the expansive views they realize, maybe for the first time, Detroit’s great beauty. Most of our visitors want a real Detroit experience, and are open to recommendations on how to enjoy the city. What’s great is that there’s no singular version of that experience. It takes a bit of time to get to know someone; it takes a conversation in the parlor, or their reaction when I show them the view, to understand what Detroit can offer that might create the kind of stay they’re looking for. The physical parts of our city show themselves to people, the buildings, the streets, etc. But to truly understand a place, you’ve got to experience the people. And that’s what I love to do. I love showing visitors around, maybe grabbing a bite with them, and introducing them to Detroiters. It’s written in the stories our guest’s share of their stays with us, and it’s the reason I’m here. I love the people.
I highly value the industry of service and feel it deserves every bit of energy I can give it. Thankfully, I have all kinds of energy to put towards it, and I give so much of myself to the work I do. It goes without saying that this is the greatest group of people I’ve ever worked with, but what makes the El Moore, and my work, really amazing are the guests who come and go. I get to spend my days in the El Moore’s Parlor – its living room – so as people come and go I’m fortunate to get to know them and share with them the beauty and complexity of Detroit, its neighborhoods, history, art and architecture. In my spare time I love thrift shopping and restoring my 1971 MGB. There’s something deeply satisfying about giving new life to discarded or forgotten objects – perhaps it’s why I feel so connected to the El Moore. This place is very special and, as one of the first people our visitors meet, it is my privilege to represent it.
I used to live in the Rosedale Park neighborhood of Detroit and I had to drive to experience the wonderful things that midtown and downtown Detroit have to offer, like museums, or the Riverwalk, or Eastern Market. I would drive in to go to Eastern Market every Saturday with my grandson. When I found out about the El Moore, I was so excited to actually live where the fun was happening. My favorite place to be in the whole city is on my balcony, or my back porch as I like to call it, sipping my coffee in the morning. I wrote a piece about how that experience has informed my view on Detroit. It’s titled “Deep Porch Sitting.” I’m endlessly interested in people, cultures, and backgrounds, so for me, it’s the people that make this place special. That, and the proximity to an amazing neighborhood. My grandson and I can now walk to restaurants and museums. His proudest day was at the Detroit Library when he was able to sign for his own library card. I also love to take in the city by bike, never missing a Slow Roll. I’m proud to be able to share the El Moore – my home – with guests from near and far.
I take great pride in helping to keep the beauty of the El Moore shining through everyday. I started working at the El Moore during its reconstruction so I was able to see the building come back to life. I enjoy the El Moore so much it doesn’t feel like work for me. I always joke with my wife that the people who work and reside there are like a second family, I say that I’m leaving home to go home. It’s a peaceful environment, and I am able to be myself, and that’s encouraged here. The people who live, stay, and work in the El Moore make up the personality and the feel. So I know that when I talk to visitors, the best part of my job, I am enhancing their experience of the El Moore, and of Detroit. Outside of work, I spend as much time as possible with my wife and kids, in addition to mentoring inner city youth through the Second Ebenezer Church. I’m also a basketball coach at Cass Tech High School. My goal is to start my own mentoring program to make an even bigger impact on Detroit’s kids.