Local Business Spotlight: Best Western Plus Superior Inn
Kalli Hawkins

Local Business Spotlight: Best Western Plus Superior Inn

The Holland and Mehlhaff families have had a noteworthy year marked by two celebratory milestones.

This year, the 4th generation family celebrated its 40th year of operating Best Western Plus Superior Inn in Grand Marais. Additionally, the family celebrated their 70th anniversary of providing excellent service in the hospitality industry.

The family’s journey in the hospitality industry began in 1953 when Emil and Hilda Holland built the Holland Motel in Detroit Lakes, Minn. Similar to other small family-owned businesses, the tradition and entrepreneurial spirit was passed down from generation to generation. 

In 1983, Emil and Hilda’s son, John Holland, ventured outside the Detroit Lakes area to purchase the Best Western Superior Inn in Grand Marais. Forty years later, the business remains in the family, with the 3rd and 4th generation running the show. 

“This is our 40th year in Grand Marais. So we’re celebrating those milestones with the 1953 first motel, then 40 years later to be in the Grand Marais community,” Chris Holland-Mehlhaff, the owner of Best Western Plus Superior Inn and 3rd generation family member, said. “It’s just very special.”

Chris Holland-Mehlhaff owns the business with her husband, Scott Mehlhaff, and the 4th generation, Katriana Mehlhaff, manages the day-to-day operations. The family formerly lived in Detroit Lakes but, in recent years, permanently moved to Grand Marais. 

“I’ve learned a lot through the past few years,” Katriana Mehlhaff, the director of operations, said. She moved to Grand Marais nearly four years ago during the height of the pandemic. She said having her parents as mentors and a community that embraces the value of small businesses contributed to her success and the success of the family business. 

The family gathered to celebrate their milestone anniversaries earlier this spring during a Cook County Chamber of Commerce event on April 20. If two significant milestones weren’t enough to celebrate, Chris Holland-Mehlhaff’s dad, John Holland, turned 80 this year. “It was very nice to get together and get out all the pictures,” Chris Holland-Mehlhaff said of the event. 

As the family plans for the next forty years, Chris Holland-Mehlhaff said they will focus on upgrades to the 67 rooms, technology, and artwork and are exploring the possibility of hosting live music in the lobby bar. “It’s on our bucket list to try and share some of that with the community,” Chris Holland-Mehlhaff said.

WTIP’s Kalli Hawkins spoke with the 3rd & 4th generation family members of Best Western Plus Superior Inn in Grand Marais, who are celebrating their 40th year in operation, in the latest edition of the Local Business Spotlight. Audio from the feature is below.