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CHICAGO—When Sam Cicero, Sr. started Cicero’s Development Corp. back in 1970, he says “it was just a little painting and odd jobs.” Today, the Plainfield, IL-based company renovates hotels with as many as 428 rooms, and with the recession fading, business across the country has boomed. “We’ve got a pretty good feel for what’s happening in the nation,” he adds, and “there really has been a flood of business.”

Not so long ago, much of Cicero’s work involved property improvement plans for major hotel chains like Omni and Holiday Inn, what company officials like to call “lipstick and rouge,” or the updates the chains want their owners to put in every few years to keep the facilities fresh, including new paint, signage, computers and other features. But during the recession, most chains took it easy and let their owners skip some of the scheduled updates. And now that tourists and business travelers have once again started booking rooms, these owners need to make up for lost time.   

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