Dutch Treat: Kendra and Marv Kuipers operating Dutch Inn in Edgerton
EDGERTON -- Kendra Kuipers may have lived in Edgerton as a toddler, but she never envisioned returning to the community. Kendra, though -- along with her husband, Marv -- have called this community home for the past eight and a half years while o...
EDGERTON - Kendra Kuipers may have lived in Edgerton as a toddler, but she never envisioned returning to the community.
Kendra, though - along with her husband, Marv - have called this community home for the past eight and a half years while owning and operating the Dutch Inn. In addition to their business, both are active volunteers around town.
“My dad was a teacher at Edgerton Christian, and I was born in Pipestone,” Kendra recalled. “My parents actually lived on Mechanic Street. … The house is no longer standing and got taken down about two years ago. My mom, a new bride - she walked downtown to the Edgerton clinic and saw Dr. Beckering, and he said, sure enough, she was expecting me.”
That clinic, ironically, is the home to the Dutch Inn today.
Kendra lived in Edgerton for the first years of her life before her father’s career change took the family to Volga, S.D., where she would spend the rest of her growing-up years. After graduating from college, she moved to Platte, S.D., for a teaching position.
“That’s where I met a local bachelor who worked at the John Deere store,” she said, glancing toward Marv.
The couple married the following year and resided in Platte for 10 years. Marv has strong ties to that community, as his great-grandfather settled Platte along with some of the town’s first Dutch immigrants.
Eventually, a new opportunity beckoned.
“There was a job opening at Edgerton Implement,” Marv said. “It was just a good job opportunity, and the community had Christian education. If there wasn’t Christian education, we wouldn’t have come here.”
“Keep in mind that when we lived in Platte, we never had aspirations of living in a bed and breakfast or running one,” Kendra added. “The thought actually had occurred to us because it was pheasant country out there, Marv’s parents had a beautiful house and we thought, ‘boy, would this make a hunting house.’ But it wasn’t a realistic possibility.”
Taking over The Kuipers prepared for their move to Edgerton and soon discovered there weren’t a multitude of ideal housing options for a family of their size.
“As a last-ditch effort, Paul Ward (a local realtor at the time) showed us the Dutch Inn, which at the time was owned by Rick Fey,” Kendra recalled “He's the one who converted it from the Edgerton Clinic to the inn - he had the vision for it.”
The Dutch Inn had been operated by Fey for about five years. Kendra and Marv looked at the property on July 21, 2008, and quickly returned home and put their house in Platte up for sale. It sold in a week, and they moved into the Edgerton residence - which is connected to the inn by a tunnel, the only one of its kind in the state - on Aug. 30.
The Kuipers admit to not knowing exactly what they were getting into when they took ownership of the property.
“I was under the impression that they (Dutch Inn) had hired help, so it was a little shock to the system that I would be cleaning,” said Kendra, explaining that the inn’s owners had released their employees on the occasion of the sale.
“It was a large learning curve, and we've learned a lot along the way,” Marv added. “There's not really a large community of innkeepers out there.”
“We are different in that we're the bed without the breakfast,” Kendra noted of their business. “That's why we have the Tally Ho (downtown restaurant) and the Edgerton bakery. I love to cook and breakfast is my forte, but with four kids in school it's just too challenging to keep that running. … It would also require a renovation, as we would need to have a commercial-grade kitchen.”
The Kuipers haven’t done any major remodeling and renovation projects since taking over, yet their business has certainly continued to thrive.
“We love the house, and this is a way for me to stay home with our kids and provide a source of income and be available for our children,” Kendra said.
Inside the inn The Dutch Inn’s first guest checked in just two days after Marv and Kendra moved in. The transaction, she said, was “a total turn-key” - the previous owners left all reservations intact, and even the previous phone number was maintained.
Kendra said she and her husband consider the Dutch Inn a two-unit establishment, with the main floor and the lower level available to guests.
“We can have a couple stay and they’ll often ask, ‘We get this whole space to ourselves?’” Kendra stated.
“There are four bedrooms on the main floor and two down, and we charge per number of beds used,” Marv added. “We sleep comfortably up to 11 … six individual adults will sleep comfortably here.”
More information about rooms and rates is available at dutchinnmn.com.
Guests who have stayed at the Dutch Inn over the last few years have hailed from far and wide. The Kuipers have hosted visitors from Australia and Kenya, among other far-flung locales, as well as notables including Christian comedian Ken Davis and Christian musical groups Avalon and Selah.
There are times when business is a bit slower than others, the Dutch Inn proprietors admit, but those occasions can vary. While Kendra said she likes to do painting and deep cleaning between the months of January and March, the inn was full earlier this month with workers building the solar energy field near Pipestone. Guests have included people staying in the area to work on a Pipestone County bridge, men who helped bundle grain for Chandler Co-op, those involved with erecting nearby wind towers and various other visiting contractors; they’ve also hosted people who have found themselves stranded due to severe weather conditions.
Guests often become a part of the neighborhood while staying at the Dutch Inn, Kendra noted.
“They’ll grill out in the front and talk to the neighbors,” she said of some guests. “I think of Edgerton as being a sort of Mayberry. … When people ask about keys or credit cards. I just say ‘we keep it simple’ and not worry so much about those things.
“I do like to keep the inn available for families when they come back in the summer for shorter stays. We like to have people have that experience of coming back and have it be like going to Grandma’s house in downtown Edgerton. We try to preserve those special nuances and older times. I think people from out of state see that and are in awe almost - they think, ‘People really do live like this.”
Busy … and involved In addition to their ownership and operation of the Dutch Inn, Marv is employed as parts manager at Edgerton Implement. The couple has four children - Levi (an eighth-grader), Jarrett (sixth grade), Selah (third grade) and Gentre (kindergarten).
If their family alone wasn’t enough to keep them busy, both are active in making Edgerton an appealing place to live and visit. Marv assists with such efforts as watering and deadheading flowers and mowing hay, among other volunteering (he also assists with coaching trapshooting at Southwest Christian), while Kendra also plays an active part in her community.
“I do things like put the flower pots on Main Street and help with Girls Night Out, do seasonal decorations, the Easter Egg Hunt … do decorating for the Pumpkin Festival, fundraising for the city pool,” she said. “Those are all faces of the Edgerton Chamber, and I’m just trying to generate enthusiasm and help people outside of Edgerton as well as locals to realize our assets and bring business into town. That’s one reason why I went to the international fair (the Celebrations Around the World event, hosted at Minnesota West Community and Technical College in December) - I can’t believe how many people said, ‘There’s a bakery in Edgerton?’
“I figure if our town is doing well, then our businesses are doing well,” she added. “It's to the benefit of all the businesses - ourselves included.”