Competition benefits consumers as well as businesses interested in staying in business.

Think about the certain topics of conversation that always seem to circulate among those who care about the current state of affairs in Crookston and where the community might be headed in the future. The local lodging scene is firmly entrenched among those topics.

    “We need another hotel,” the refrain typically goes.

    Well, now it looks like that need is finally about to be filled, with Wisconsin-based Cobblestone Hotels announcing that it’s purchased the parcel along University Avenue, just south of the railroad tracks, with plans to build a 44-room facility. The hotel will be home to a wine and beer lounge, exercise facility and swimming pool. Clicking around the Cobblestone website, it certainly appears that the young company is capable of building some sharp-looking facilities.

    Crookston does need another lodging facility, if the goal of bringing more families to Crookston not just to attend recreational activities during the day but to actually spend a night or two here is ever going to be more than a pipe dream. The good people at Crookston’s nicest lodging facility, the AmericInn, might disagree with that assertion, but when you compare the number of lodging facilities in communities around these parts similar in size to Crookston, it’s clear we have long come up well short when it comes to providing a high-quality lodging experience to those coming to Crookston to stay for whatever reason.

    Is there room for improvement at Crookston’s AmericInn? That’s a determination best left to management and staff there. But what can be determined from those not intimately tied to the AmericInn is that the old mantra that competition makes everyone better, and benefits consumers, will likely hold true in this case. You can bet the AmericInn staff and management, with a Cobblestone Inn & Suites to compete with, will take measures to set themselves apart, for the better, in the eyes of potential guests.

    Of course, that competition mantra continues, if you don’t improve, you might just get handed your hat and close up shop. One would think the arrival of a Cobblestone facility will serve as an opportunity for the staff, management and ownership at the Crookston Inn (formerly the Northland Inn and America’s Best Value Inn) to improve their product, too, wherever those improvements might be necessary.

    The multi-faceted goal is always the same: Whether it’s sports, recreation, nature or whatever, we want people to travel to Crookston for a variety of reasons. We want them to spend money while they’re here. With the number of local quality lodging options lacking, those who come to Crookston often spend their nights in lodging facilities in neighboring cities like Grand Forks. As a result, they’re probably more likely to shop, eat and gas up somewhere besides Crookston.

    Cobblestone’s arrival can only help reverse that trend, and that’s a very good thing for Crookston.