We’ve walked a thousand miles in your shoes.
Company Founder and President Harry G. Spirides is a former owner and operator of a 205-room, full-service, beachfront resort hotel for over 20 years. The story of his family’s contribution to the United States hospitality industry is a remarkable one. Not only have they owned, operated, developed, and advised hotels and restaurants for over 100 years–since the 1920s, but they also played a vital role in launching the hospitality industry careers of two of the industry’s biggest titans Cecil B. Day, founder of Days Inns and Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s Hamburger Restaurant chain. The Spirides family chronology is outlined below.
Harry Spirides rose up through the ranks of his family’s hotel company from restaurant dishwasher to general manager to chief executive officer. He is a third-generation hotelier and has over 30 years of experience working in full-service hotels. During his 20 year tenure holding the position of hotel owner and chief executive officer Harry Spirides employed thousands of people and led his company through all phases of a hotel company’s lifecycle and successfully navigated through many financial, legal, economic, public relations, and operations significant events. Mr. Spirides has served for decades as a member of boards of directors of organizations focused on tourism destination marketing, municipal convention center operations, and economic development. He has also served on state and local government authorities and committees. He is a published author of hotel history.
On many occasions during his 20 years as a hotel owner and operator Harry Spirides successfully obtained capital as needed to refinance his company’s mortgage debt as well as fund new construction, acquisitions, renovations, and operations. He intimately knows how finance is the lifeblood of any hotel, and he can certainly relate to any financial situation in which a hotel owner may find himself or herself.
Harry Spirides sold his hotel in 2014 in a vibrant hotel real estate market. Today, Mr. Spirides owns and operates Spirides Hospitality Finance Company where he finds it very rewarding to assist hotel owners with their financing needs, having “walked a thousand miles in their shoes.” He provides funding at the best possible terms for hotel owners located throughout the United States by using his deep, proven, and well established connections in the capital markets and hospitality industry in general.
Mr. Spirides holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Mercer University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality Administration from Florida State University. He has also been awarded the Advanced Certification in Real Estate and Hotel Investment from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. Harry Spirides is a military veteran and former commissioned officer. He served 3 years active duty and 8 years reserve duty as a federal law enforcement officer in the U.S. Coast Guard. He received a honorable discharge from military service in 2008. Spirides Hospitality Finance Company was verified in 2017 as a Veteran-Owned Small Business by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
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In 1910, George Leonidas Spirides immigrated to the United States from Sparta, Greece. He spent the next 5 years working in New York City as a dishwasher, a cook, and a flower delivery boy.
In 1915, George L. Spirides moved to Endicott, New York, to work for his first cousin James Strates, owner of Strates Shows, which became the nation’s largest traveling carnival show. At that time the show traveled in 50 double length railroad cars and employed 900 people. George Spirides managed the Strates dining facility known as the “Cookhouse.” In between shows George Spirides traveled to other carnivals and special events where he operated his own ice cream and frozen custard concession outlets.
In 1940, George L. Spirides and his wife Florence moved to Savannah, Georgia where they owned and operated food service establishments and lodging facilities for the next 40 years.
In 1942, This company’s Founder and President Harry G. Spirides’ uncle Bill Regas in Knoxville, Tennessee, hired and began mentoring at the Regas Restaurant a young, ambitious teenager by the name of Dave Thomas who later founded the Wendy’s Hamburger Restaurant chain. Bill and Dave’s close friendship lasted for the rest of Dave’s life.
In the mid 1950s, George L. Spirides’ nephew George H. Spirides immigrated from Sparta, Greece to Savannah, Georgia and thoroughly learned the hotel business while working for his uncle over the next several years.
In the mid 1960s, George H. Spirides bought the last remaining section of a legendary old beach resort hotel near Savannah, Georgia, and over the next 30 years he operated and expanded that hotel and transformed it into a modern 205-room, full-service beach resort hotel which hosted more than 100,000 guests each year.
In 1966, George H. Spirides married his wife Frances who is originally from Knoxville, Tennessee and a member of the prominent Regas family of restaurant owners and operators. Bill Regas (mentioned above) hosted U.S. Presidents, celebrities, and hundreds of thousands of other visitors at the famous Regas Restaurant and was President of the National Restaurant Association in 1980-81. Working closely with her husband, Frances ultimately worked for 43 years overseeing front desk, housekeeping, and accounting operations in the Spirides family hotel business. She retired in 2009.
In 1969, George H. Spirides mentored and assisted his good friend Cecil B. Day to enter the hotel business by designing and opening the world’s first Day’s Inn near Savannah, Georgia. George H. Spirides subsequently became the first manager of the world’s first Day’s Inn. George H. Spirides is mentioned on pages 69 and 111 of the book titled Day by Day which was authored by Cecil Day, Jr., Cecil Day’s son. That book was endorsed by four U.S. Presidents–Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and Richard Nixon. In that book Cecil Day, Jr. refers to George H. Spirides as “an established motel wizard.”
In the 1980s, George H. Spirides’ son Harry G. Spirides, the Founder & President of Spirides Hospitality Finance Company, began working in the full-service hotel industry at a young age. Harry learned all aspects of the full-service hotel business while working for his father. Over the next 30 years he rose up through the ranks of his family’s hotel company working in every position from Restaurant Dishwasher and Busboy to Front Desk Clerk to General Manager to Chief Executive Officer.
In 2014, the Spirides family sold their Savannah, Georgia area hotel and restaurant company in a vibrant hotel real estate market.
In 2015, Harry G. Spirides founded Spirides Hospitality Finance Company in Tampa, Florida where today he finds it very rewarding to assist hotel owners with their financing needs, having “walked a thousand miles in their shoes.”
CELEBRATING 100 YEARS SERVING HOSPITALITY! The Spirides family has owned, operated, developed, and advised hotels and restaurants continuously since the 1920s. Financing hotels is now our main business specialty and focus.
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