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Houston Texans

Suites sweetened with upgrades


Caroline Seiter cuts the ribbon on her newly renovated suite with Texans vice president of sales and marketing John Vidalin.

When luxury-suite holders came to Reliant Stadium for the Texans' preseason opener against Chicago Saturday night, they may have had a sense of déjà vu. That's because the Texans partnered with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and Harris County Sports Convention Corporation to spend over $1 million renovating the suites, restoring the new look that suite holders saw the first time they ever arrived at Reliant Stadium five years ago.

"This just brings back that opening-day look again," Texans director of premium seating Brian Varnadoe said. "It gives the suites that new look when everyone first came in the building back in 2002. That was our goal in this process."

To mark the occasion this year, the doors to all 166 suites were sealed with battle red Houston Texans ribbon, which each suite holder ceremonially cut upon arrival. Additionally, the Texans left a bottle of champagne in each suite as a gift.

"The team really puts on a first-class operation," Siemens suite holder Caroline Seiter said after receiving her bottle of champagne from Texans vice president of sales and marketing John Vidalin. "This is their class-act way they do business. It's just always perfect when you walk in."

The suites were upgraded in several areas, most noticeably with new carpeting. The new floors not only replaced the many carpets that had been stained beyond repair, but also now feature "tile-carpeting" so that stadium staff can pull out and replace individual tiles of carpet that might become stained in the future.

"When I walked in, I noticed the carpeting," Houston Chronicle *vice president of circulation Gene Haddock said from within the *Chronicle's refurbished suite. "It looks new, it looks very crisp and clean. It does add a nice touch to the suites."

{QUOTE}All of the millwork in the suites was refinished, repairing any wood that had been nicked or otherwise damaged over the years. The suites also feature refurbished chrome work, freshly painted walls and newly installed automatic flushers on the bathroom toilets.

"We didn't want the building to get to a state where people were kind of down about it," Varnadoe said. "They pay first-class, they expect first-class, and so that's what we want to offer them with this and get them all the luxuries and benefits they deserve as a luxury suite holder."

The renovations made a good impression on the suite holders in attendance on Saturday, who talked about the impact this will have when they bring business partners and clients to the stadium.

"It makes a huge difference," Seiter said. "It's very comfortable. It's always very comfortable. It's very presentable. It's very high-end, so it offers a very exciting, unique opportunity to be with your customers and network."

"The reason we have a suite, first and foremost," Haddock said, "is to be able to bring our clients and entertain them, show them a great time here at Reliant Stadium. The fact that these suites are just first-class makes it just that much more enjoyable for us and the clients."

Varnadoe cited that aspect as a driving force behind the five-week refurbishing project.

"Entertaining clients through the NFL is a huge success for companies," Varnadoe said. "Being able to come in and show them that we've got a high-quality product both in the suites and on the field is very important to them, and that's why we're going to do everything we can to make sure their game day experience is something the fans, and their customers, won't soon forget."

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