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Florence motel renovations underway

Staff writer

The former Holiday Motel in Florence may be less than two months away from reopening.

New owner Cindy Schmahl said her goal was to have the motel open by October, barring any complications in renovation.

Schmahl’s brother, Dan Fletcher, bought the building, which had been closed for three years for $7,000 at an tax auction July 8. Fletcher has Stage IV cancer and wanted to buy it for Schmahl, who was seeking to relocate from Denver. Schmahl has been staying with Fletcher during renovations.

“I’m workin’ on it,” Schmahl said. “It’s just me right now, though. I’ve gotta get my business plan written up so I can get a loan.”

A lot of the remodeling will be done through contract work. She said the most difficult part right now was financial: trying to fix up a hotel without any income to draw from. She’s putting together a three-year business plan to apply for a loan.

Schmahl has encountered problems from mold, mildew, and plumbing, including faulty hoses on the laundry machines.

She said she would not open a restaurant in the building but would open a coin laundry. The lobby will be made into a community room, with coffee and games.

Each of the 11 units in the motel will have a theme and be named after a member of Schmahl’s family. The themes will include patriotic, hunting and fishing, safari, castle, and Old Hollywood. The “Dandy Dan” room, named after Fletcher, will be cowboy-themed.

If it weren’t for her brother, Schmahl wouldn’t be living in Kansas.

“My brother really wanted me to have it,” she said. “I came down here and wanted to buy his house and turn it into a little bed and breakfast for over-the-road drivers because I saw there wasn’t anything out here with that.

“I think he wanted to travel in a camper a little bit, visit family and stuff for a while. I think he was worried that if I was by myself in this house in the middle of the country that I wouldn’t be safe.”

Of seven siblings, Fletcher is the oldest and Schmahl is the second youngest. She said it meant a lot for her to be close to him while she takes over the motel.

“When I was little, he would be late for a date to sing me to sleep,” she said. “He’s also kind of like a dad to me; I lost my father in 1990. He’s 13 years older than me, so he’s kinda like a dad and a big brother.”

Last modified Aug. 13, 2014

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