The Ocean County business community celebrates the upgrade of a local hotel with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The Toms River Ocean County Chamber of Commerce hosted Tuesday's event to officially recognize the transition of the long-time Toms River Quality Inn on Route 37 into a Clarion Hotel and Conference Center.

Chamber President Maureen Stankowicz says she thinks it's a good sign. "I think that the fact that the corporation has upgraded the Quality Inn to a Clarion shows that evidently that there's traffic coming in here which is a good thing."

Stankowicz adds that the hotel's upgrade also bodes well on the economic future of Ocean County as well. "I see the turnaround in the Chamber itself also. New members are coming in. New companies are moving in, even though they're small companies. I think that it's starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I think that things are starting to turnaround."

Clarion General Manager Bob VanBochove says along with the name upgrade came some serious enhancements to its facility. He says "we've upgraded our rooms tremendously we have new LCD flat-screen televisions with HD viewing. We also have microwaves and refrigerators in all our guest rooms. We have the addition of an Exercise Room and we've added a Business Center which is open 24 hours for our guest complimentary and we still have our lounge for dining and our Banquet and Meeting facilities as well."

When asked the reason for the change, VanBochove says "the upgrading our name is something that we felt we needed to do because the franchise had changed the way they recognized Quality Inn's and we decided that we really fit the name of Clarion Hotels."

The Clarion Hotel is part of Choice Hotels International which list eleven different hotel brands, offering luxury lodging facilities at affordable prices. (choicehotels.com)