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Rural Retreat Built For Scrapbookers/Quilters
Dedicated quilters and scrapbookers mix “business” with pleasure – they love to work on projects and call it a vacation. Their need to get away to take time for hobbies has created opportunities for people to set up weekend retreat getaways.
  In Sebeka, Minn., the Paurus family put up a new building designed specifically for hobbyists. Forest Haven Retreat is a 3,000-sq. ft. modular home, including a walkout basement on 60 acres off a busy state highway in central Minnesota. It’s far enough off the road to feel secluded and built near a small environmental lake with winding paths through the woods.
  An attached, ground level 1,200-sq. ft. craft studio has tables, electrical plug-ins and good lighting for 16 crafters, who each have their own twin bed in the home’s four bedrooms.
  Being large enough to accommodate 16 people helps keep the cost down per person, says Vickie Paurus, owner of Forest Haven Retreat. It costs about $80/person when groups share the $1,250 cost for Friday through Sunday. Weekdays at $300/day are less and fit the needs of retired people who can get away during the week.
  “We call it our little slice of heaven. I always dreamt of doing something with that land,” says Paurus, a former county extension agent. Her daughter-in-law, Kristen, an avid quilter, suggested building the retreat. Since she had visited other facilities, she knew what features to include.
  Paurus ordered the building from Anderson Homes, where she works.
  “Buying a modular saved us time. It’s stick-built in a factory, which made it a quicker building process,” Paurus says.
  She and Kristen adapted the floor plan to accommodate groups. The front entrance has a large roof overhang and is ground level, which is appreciated by guests hauling in heavy sewing machines and totes of supplies. The craft studio is equipped with basic scrapbooking/quilting supplies including a computer, printer, mats, cutters and a design wall for laying out quilt blocks. Two televisions, a Blu-ray DVD player and wireless internet offer guests all the electronic options they want.
  With her home economics background, Paurus knew how to equip the full kitchen, complete with a restaurant-style waffle maker. Guests provide their own meals, but Forest Haven supplies all the dishes and items guests need right down to cotton balls and swabs in the bathrooms. There are also plenty of chairs and spaces for guests to have private talks, a cozy game and media room to watch movies, and an indoor sauna. Outside, there is a deck on the back of the house, a grill and a fire pit.
  Forest Haven Retreat opened Dec. 2010 and already has groups that book a year ahead to reserve their spot on the calendar. Paurus credits her daughter-in-law for how quickly the business has taken off.
  “Kristen said the first thing we had to do, was develop a website to attract people who want to come,” Paurus says. That, a couple of local open houses and word-of-mouth has brought guests from the Twin Cities, North Dakota and from all over Minnesota. During the summer, when bookings are down, the house is also available for families at a discounted rate.
  Designing the building specifically for a retreat facility has worked out very well, Paurus says, and the business has become a family affair. Kristen handles the website and bookings. Paurus greets guests, washes the bedding and cleans the rooms. Her retired husband takes care of mowing and maintenance.
  If their needs change in the future, the building can be remodeled for another type of business or a home. But for now Forest Haven Retreat is doing very well, and Paurus is enjoying meeting many interesting people.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Vickie Paurus, Forest Haven Retreat, 31625 U.S. Hwy. 71, Sebeka, Minn. 56477 (ph 218 371-6611; www.foresthavenretreat.com).

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2012 - Volume #36, Issue #3