‘I’m keeping the moose’
“If I sold it off in bits and pieces, the synergy goes away. They have to buy it all or nothing,” Don Kurylowicz, long-time business owner in Cannonsburg, has posted his domain for sale.
With an asking price of just under $4.5 million, the properties aren’t for just anyone, and Kurylowicz hopes the right sort of person, or a group of individuals, will keep the tenor of his old-time town.
Despite the high-tech built in—his group of buildings in the village are networked and have security cameras installed nearly everywhere—the village is Kurylowicz’s homage to Americana.
“Meijer and DeVos saved downtown Grand Rapids, but no one is saving these little towns,” Kurylowicz said.
In his late 50s, Kurylowicz said it is time to find someone else with the passion, vision—and stamina—it takes to juggle the many hats he wears in the village. He admits, however, if someone ponies up the asking price, he can’t say no.
“I’d owe the realtors their commission, that would be $450,000,” he said. He listed the property with The Wisinski Group last Thursday, August 20.
This summer Kurylowicz celebrated 25 years in the town, from his first investment in the Honey Creek Inn. He recalled his stubborn efforts to save the historic buildings of the village. The first store was built in 1844 and by 1978 employed seven individuals between its cattle dealer, lumber dealer, shoe and boot store and a hardware.
When Kurylowicz bought the Inn, it was in bad shape. He said the township at that time did not make his efforts to rehab the building easy. He dug in his heels and over the years acquired the other properties—mostly by happenstance—he now lists for sale as one unit.
Over the years he has enjoyed the feeling of rural community that he promotes through festivals and being very active in the community. He believes people crave the social environment fostered by small towns, which sadly are gone or disappearing. He believes the success of the village is because of the caring people there.
Listed are nine parcels, including Honey Creek Inn, Cannonsburg Market and Grist Mill. Kurylowicz said he’s keeping the newest celebrity addition to the town, Ralph the Moose.
Kurylowicz said the listing is only the first step in what might be a long process. Another town he heard of had a similar situation and a group of people formed a non-profit and purchased the properties.
“I have a lot of questions,” he said. “How do you keep the town going with the next generation? It’s not just businesses. It’s the history of the buildings, it’s the whole idea of a small community.”
On reflection of his years with Cannonsburg, Kurylowicz is clear. “It’s been an amazing ride.”