Tourists wanted in Lanesboro | KAALTV.com

Tourists wanted in Lanesboro

Alice Keefe
Updated: April 27, 2020 11:14 AM
Created: April 27, 2020 10:14 AM

(ABC 6 News) - On a sunny spring day, phones at the Habberstad House Bed & Breakfast, during any other year, would be ringing off the hook.

Innkeeper Elaine Edwards | Alice Keefe Innkeeper Elaine Edwards | Alice Keefe
“This time of year would be one of our busiest for booking for the, for the season because people are getting their spring and summer and fall plans lined up,” said innkeeper Elaine Edwards.

Lanesboro comes to life when the weather turns warm.

Shops and restaurants open and the bike trails, campgrounds and river are full of tourists.

“We get a lot of folks that come not just only from southeast Minnesota, but also from Wisconsin, Iowa, some from the Dakotas,” said Lori Bakke, owner of Granny’s Liquor.

Granny's Liquor, Lori Bakke | Alice Keefe Granny's Liquor, Lori Bakke | Alice Keefe

Bakke’s business is one of the few in Lanesboro that operates year round, and since the start of the pandemic, her sales have increased.

“People are needing what I provide to get through this,” she said.

Bakke admits she’s lucky because other businesses’ in the town’s thriving hospitality sector are hurting.

“Since March 10 we have not had one reservation booked for this year. We’ve only had cancellations,” Edwards said.

Bed and Breakfast Capital of Minnesota, Scandinavian Inn | Alice Keefe Bed and Breakfast Capital of Minnesota, Scandinavian Inn | Alice Keefe
With more than 30 B&Bs and inns, Lanesboro holds the title of bed and breakfast capital of Minnesota, so people staying at home instead of booking reservations is a big hit to the local economy.

“We are allowed to lodge people, but feeding gets a little difficult. We’re allowed to do room service, but at this point, just for the safety of us, our staff and our guests, we’re closed,” said Peter Torkelson, owner of Scandinavian Inn.

Tourism dollars make up the majority of Lanesboro’s economy, money that’s mostly made from May to October.

“We expect to have a lot less business, and rightfully so because people are until we have a vaccine for the virus, we can’t expect people to travel freely,” Edwards said.

Still, new businesses are set to open for their first season.

“We bought the building a year ago March and started construction in November, so obviously well before everything that’s going on today,” said Randy Rakosnik, who is opening up Root River Unwined with his wife Lori next month.

Root River Unwined, opening next month owned by Randy & Lori Rakosnik | Alice Keefe Root River Unwined, opening next month owned by Randy & Lori Rakosnik | Alice Keefe

While hiring has been a bit slow, they hope to open as planned in mid-May.

As the weather warms up, the hope is that business in Lanesboro will, too.


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