Opening a Boutique hotel during a Pandemic
Starting a new business as most of the country is still struggling out to the COVID pandemic? Crazy, right?!
Quite possibly, yet here we are!
This journey started like most do, unexpectedly. As both of our kids have moved long since moved out to pursue their ongoing academic careers, a four-bedroom house in the exurbs felt excessive for just the two of us and a skinny rescue dog. We always loved the St Croix river and it was still close enough to be in the country yet keep our day jobs. But after fruitlessly searching for a new home to downsize into, Roxy accidently searched business properties in Wisconsin and stumbled upon the Inn. “Check this out, there is an old B & B for sale in Osceola!” “That’s nice” I replied, “who would be dumb enough to buy a hospitality business during COVID?”
“How about we do? Besides you grew up on a resort and I’ve been in retail drugstores most of my life”
Roxy had spent the past year working in the front lines of the pandemic keeping the family pharmacy running in the local town of Lindstrom, Minnesota and it had taken its toll on her and the store staff. After 25 years in the businesses, an opportunity to work on a new project was very much needed to refresh her career. And, yes, I really did grow up on a fishing resort in northern Minnesota, my parents, now in their 80s continue to operate it every summer…but that is another story.
A few emails later and we were touring the property with Ben, the long-time owner and realtor. Ben had recently retaken ownership after an unsuccessful contract for deed fell through and was hoping to find buyers who would return it back into a classic Bed and Breakfast. As we toured the building, our son’s friend Carly statement came to mind “it’s got good bones!”. After some consideration, meetings with bankers and stock sales, we knew the time for “Starting Over” had come and that this property is our future.
The cover picture from the Sales brochure:
A drone shot during the summer and map
The Inn we originally built in 1908 known as the Stoneleigh, with its signature limestone walls and was converted into a B&B in the 1980s. More to come on the history of this building from the local historical society in a future posting. As we have prepared the Inn for opening, we have been very welcomed by the neighbors and local community who are thrilled to have one of the city’s landmarks returned to the sophistication elegance it was renowned for in the past.
Tim doing the traditional taking down of the for-sale sign, much harder then I thought
Roxy with the traditional celebration champagne toast on the Sunset Suite deck!
Roxy starts painting and updating begins! There are lots of restoration efforts needed to get ready for our guests.
Wow, what a mess (The lobby does not look like this now, you can walk through it without dodging drip clothes and misplaced furniture) Note that New Glarus Spotted Cow was very helpful during this effort ?
The new Towels and bath rugs arrive, hooray Brooklinen! However, the UPS delivery man is not a fan….
We are so delighted to start over in the historic and wonderful building, just pardon the paint chips and dust as we restore it to its former glory, and as we add our own special touches.
Welcome to our new adventure, we’re happy to invite you along.