Keeping Up With The Joneses: The Story Behind In-Room Plus October 11 2018 | 1 Comment
The times they were a changin’ in the late 80s. The Cold War was coming to an end, shares of Aqua Net were peaking and dudes were doing their best to look like chicks. There weren’t too many things that made it out of that era alive, but the Jones family is proud that the snack legacy did.
Like most great things, In-Room Plus began unintentionally. Wanda Jones and Michael Amrose were operating a small research marketing agency when a friend asked them to start pitching his chocolate chip cookies for hotels to carry in their minibars. Needless to say, Wanda and Michael were pleasantly shocked to find that there were no focused minibar product suppliers.
Thus In-Room Plus was born in October 1988 in Williamsville, New York, and began selling gourmet cookies. Candies, chips, gourmet cheeses and bottled water were eventually added before In-Room Plus moved into a larger 1,000 square foot space in the Tri-Main Building in Buffalo. The move allowed Wanda and Michael to focus more on their own brand of minibar items beginning with the Picnic Pack.
In-Room Plus was recognized by the Buffalo News' Business First publication in 1994
Having moved into an even larger space by 1995, Wanda and Michael were being quoted in several national publications like The Wall Street Journal and USA Today, and gained a reputation as the “Minibar Experts” before moving into a 14,000 square foot space and launching the Banana Moon line of sweet and salty snacks.
The modern In-Room Plus began to take shape in 2000 as the production of Banana Moon snacks became automated, doubling the products’ shelf life with the introduction of nitrogen flushing. Then in 2002, In-Room Plus expanded again and began customized product development for Westin Hotels. This line of products, created specifically for Westin minibars, won awards in the 2004 NACD Packaging Design Competition, and was a minibar standard for all Westin Hotels in North America with tremendous success.
The Westin Silver Line
With both of Wanda’s children, Brett and Elizabeth, in leadership roles, In-Room Plus created brand standards for W Hotels, Fontainebleau, Noble House Hotels, JW Marriott, InterContinental Hotels and many more. With preferred minibar vendor status with major chains such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Avendra, new product lines and successes became abundant. Banana Moon went through several redesigns including the addition of the Banana Moon Luxury Collection as the future direction of In-Room Plus became clear.
The modern iterations of Fontainebleau's (left) & W Hotels' (right) minibars
In 2016, Elizabeth & Brett took over ownership of In-Room Plus, manufacturing & distributing products to hotels all across the world. Our seasoned crew includes four team members who have been here for over 20 years and an additional six team members with over 10 years at In-Room Plus. Now with over 40,000 square feet of production, warehouse and office space in Buffalo, In-Room Plus looks forward to continuing to create exceptional products for loyal customers while creating new channels of business for growth.
Who said history was boring?