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Creating memories at Main Street Retreat

By Staff | Mar 31, 2008

Blue Earth’s Carol Ahrens has turned this house into a home-away-from-home crafting retreat.

Want to find out how to turn a box of old photographs into a worthy-of-display memory? Ask for help from a ‘scrapbooker.’

Want to take a home and turn it into a business venture? Talk to Carol Ahrens.

Want to find out a little bit more about both? Travel to 616 S. Main in Blue Earth, the new site of Main Street Retreat — a business that offers scrapbookers, crafters and others a location to gather.

The rentable home — which offers sleeping space for up to 10 guests, a full bath, working kitchen, homecooked meals and a deck area — gives crafters and others ample space to create and the breathing room to relax while doing it, says Ahrens.

The home also provides plenty of work space, with two rooms full of tables and lamps — a good thing, according to Carol, who says many scrapbookers arrive with their cars packed to the brim with gear.

Never heard of a scrapbooking retreat? Don’t feel bad. Neither had Carol until a few months ago.

Given to the homeowner by a ‘scrapbooking’ friend, Carol admits the new business idea seemed a little ‘unique’ to her at first — until she did a quick internet search of ‘scrapbooking retreats.’ Bombarded with more than 1,600 hits on the topic, Carol realized opening the home to crafters could prove a lucrative solution to what started out as a renovating project. Carol and her husband had first planned to fix up and flip the Main Street property — something they had done to previous properties while living in Nebraska .

After six months on the lagging market, Carol said the couple was open to suggestions.

“It was kind of ‘spur of the moment,'” says the owner. “And it was the right timing. Our contract was up with the realtor so I thought ‘why not?'”

Carol’s first step in turning the remodeled home into a business was to contact city hall. Purchasing the needed permits and tying up all loss ends, Carol officially hung the Main Street Retreat sign last Wednesday.

While she is ‘just getting started,’ Carol says she has already discovered one exciting piece of information — scrapbooking is popular.

“I’ve found out there are a lot of people who know what (a scrapbooking retreat) is,” says the owner. “Whoever I talk to seems to know someone who scrapbooks.”

Her internet research has also revealed another good-for-business fact — many retreat sites throughout the state are booked solid for the coming year.

Carol already has two bookings, thanks again to her scrapbooking friend, and is looking forward to an ‘open house’ on April 12. Scheduled for 10 a.m.-6 p.m., the owner will be showcasing demonstrations for consumers, free bookings for consultants, a choice of free bookings or free meals for weekend guests and sampling of meal options.

To learn more about the new business — which is also available for other venues, including baby and wedding showers, anniversaries or family reunions — log on to www.mainstreetretreat.com