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TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) — A Northeast Mississippi businessman gets a huge honor from the Small Business Administration. Bruce Patel was named SBA’s Mississippi Small Business Person of the Year. WCBI’s Allie Martin visited with Patel and has more on the man whose company has become a major player in the area’s hospitality industry.

Bruce Patel is a man on the move.

“Every morning when I wake up, it’s just get up and go.”

Patel is managing principal and CEO at Tupelo based Fusion Hospitality. He grew up around the hotel industry and founded Fusion Hospitality four years ago. The company develops, owns and manages 22 hotels, a restaurant and yogurt shops.

Back in April, two days before the tornado hit Tupelo, Patel opened his latest hotel, The Holiday Inn and Suites, on North Gloster Street. Patel says he likes each of his properties to be unique and functional.

“When I am planning, developing a hotel, I don’t like the cookie-cutter things. I want something sustainable, different, when the guest, anybody walks in, we got to have that ‘wow’ factor and that’s what I strive for.”

Fusion’s steady growth was one factor that led the SBA to recognize Patel as Mississippi Small Business Person of the Year.

“I was really surprised that they honored me with that.”

Patel shares credit for his success with his team. Fusion Hospitality employs around 150 people in the area and has close to 300 team members statewide.

“I don’t have a good team, I have a great team and that makes life easier, people you can depend on, people you can trust , share the vision I have for the company.”

Patel likes to honor his team, in fact all this week, Fusion Hospitality has taken part in an initiative called
“Celebrate Service” It’s an opportunity for members of the InterContinental Hotels Group to recognize employees. So, workers at Candlewood Suites and Holiday Inn and Suites enjoyed a barbecue lunch.

Patel believes attracting and keeping top quality employees, keeping strong family ties and making sure the needs and expectations of guests are met and surpassed, is a certain recipe for success. In Tupelo I’m Allie Martin WCBI News

Patel and other winners from across the country were honored at an SBA reception in Washington last month. Fusion Hospitality is building a Marriott Courtyard in Oxford.

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