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Couple converts vacant house into inn

Staff writer

When Steve and Phoebe Janzen’s daughter, Amy Zeller, moved away and out of the house they were renting to her, they saw an opportunity to fill a need in Florence.

They converted the house at 911 Marion St. into The Old Goat’s Inn and made it available for day-by-day rental.

The wheelchair-accessible house has five beds plus a fold-out sofa in four bedrooms. The house also has two full bathrooms, a furnished living room and dining room, a washer and dryer, and a kitchen with a refrigerator, stove, coffee maker, and dishes.

“It’s not the Ritz, but it’s clean and warm,” Phoebe said.

They expect much of their business to come from out-of-state hunters looking for a place to stay in the area. They have already had their first guest — a hunter from Wisconsin. He told them he enjoyed it so much he would probably bring his wife next winter.

“She’ll have a nice place to stay while he’s hunting,” Phoebe said.

They also think it would be a good place to stay for family reunions and weddings, not to mention when their own four children come to visit.

With the guests they expect to have, they think their guests will be respectful of both the property and neighbors.

“I don’t think there’s going to be any problem at all,” Steve said.

They sought advice from Marion County Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman and a small business consultant from Butler Community College to make sure they met all the requirements for the business, including a variance from the City of Florence.

They said they were surprised the number of regulations involved with day-to-day accommodations. And there would have been even more if they wanted to make it a bed and breakfast.

“I don’t want to get involved in a bed and breakfast,” Steve said.

Phoebe also uses a room in the house for massage therapy — as 911 Massage. She has massage therapy training and kept her equipment from an earlier business, so she decided it could be another way to pay the bills on the house.

For more information, call (620) 878-4343, (620) 381-3746, or (620) 382-4191, or e-mail janzeste@yahoo.com or janzepho@gmail.com.

Last modified Dec. 22, 2010

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