By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Employees and long-term residents of Norman’s Days Inn learned this week that the business will be closing Sunday. The motel on 609 N. Interstate Dr. will be demolished to make room for a car lot, an employee told The Transcript on Thursday.
“I’ve been there seven years,” said the employee, who asked not to be identified. “It’s terrifying. They didn’t tell me. They went to someone else who told me. I’ve never experienced such a cavalier attitude.”
Change comes and is a natural part of the business world, the employee said, but the lack of communication and notice has been shocking.
The employee said the Fine family sold the motel about five years ago and gave everyone plenty of notification and help with the transition.
“We were treated with respect,” the employee said.
Current owner Jay Bhkta was unavailable for comment, but a phone call to the Days Inn verified that Sunday is the last day the motel will be in operation.
The employee who reported the impending closure said some long-term motel residents are elderly and/or disabled.
“They’re living in a hotel,” the employee said. “They don’t have resources. I can’t sleep. We have people that have been there for two years. There are employees who live there.”
Help is available for those long-term residents.
“People being evicted from the hotel are becoming homeless, and homeless resources are available to them,” said April Doshier, Food and Shelter for Friends executive director. “They can reach out to Food and Shelter, and we can be part of their plan to find new housing.”
However, the motel has been an asset and that loss will be felt.
“It’s unfortunate because Days Inn is one of our emergency housing options in Norman,” Doshier said. “So it certainly limits our number of beds.”
About 16 employees are reportedly working at the motel.
“We’re scared. It’s scary when you’ve been given a week,” the employee said. “We’re trying to keep our chins up, and we’re trying to find new jobs.”
Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Stephen Koranda said he had no knowledge that the motel had sold or that it would be demolished.
Koranda said the motel has served in part as an overflow lodging for large events hosted at Embassy Suites Norman.
“It was a nice option as part of the lodging mix for Norman,” Koranda said.
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