By Logan Dubel
Susan Jones, one of the hardest working people in the Town of Ocean City, knows the local business community better than anyone. Working on a daily basis to advocate for hotels, motels, and restaurants, she has made sure that no one ever leaves our businesses behind.
Role: Executive Director, Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association (HMRA) (1995-Present)
Hometown: Bishopville, Maryland (Deep family roots in Worcester County)
First Job: Layton’s on 16th Street
Education: Towson University
“We Rally Around People”
Understanding the Value of Hard Work: In my family, we knew that during the summer, you were working in Ocean City. There was no laying on the beach and doing nothing! I worked at Layton’s for six summers.
Jones on the Role of the HMRA during Covid-19: We have 225 hotels, motels, and restaurants on our team. Our group was instrumental in making sure that people on the state level making decisions did not forget about Ocean City. When you’re a small town with only 7,000 residents, they sometimes think you don’t have much of an impact. However, collectively, we do and are the second-largest city in Maryland during the summer. It was quite busy in 2020, and we made it through.
Jones’ Mission: want to be somebody that unites people. Hospitality is an industry that I love. I started when I was 14 years old, and I want to keep going, talking, and moving people in a common direction. The business and hotel owners that I work with and serve do not have time for the day-to-day minutia. I execute while they run their businesses, and the fact that they put their trust in me is a great accomplishment for the association. This is my small business, and I always look out for theirs as well.
Hospitality: You can always be hospitable, and that’s all about how you make someone feel. I want to make people feel welcome – welcome to do business in our city, welcome to visit, and welcome to connect. It has always been about hospitality for me, and I don’t foresee ever doing anything else!
Susan Jones’ Ocean City Favorites
Favorite Restaurants: Macky’s Bayside Bar and Grill, Fishtales, Harborside, and The Hobbit
Must-Stop on the Boardwalk: Thrasher’s French Fries – never visited the Boardwalk without a stop! Other favorites include Fisher’s Popcorn and the Cork Bar
Favorite Activities: Kayaking and eating at restaurants accessible by boat
Rainy Day Activity: Watching Hallmark movies and visiting the Art League of Ocean City
Favorite Time of Year: September – Bikefest and major benefits for the HMRA
The future for tourism is bright because we have a new Business Development and Tourism Director, Tom Perlozzo, and he is our captain of the ship. We now have someone leading the way to find our best customers. We are also pushing sports tourism because we love the families that come here. We are all going to come together to always do what is best.