The Can Am is Back!

 In Events, Uncategorized
Big news broke last week when it was announced that Wendy King (WHS class of 94) and Damon Ellenson (WHS class of 1997) recently bought what used to be the Can Am Motel.  Wendy and Damon aren’t new to business ownership. Damon has started his own trucking company and they also started a gravel business this past spring. So why not start another business venture, right?
But where to begin? “We didn’t really have anything specific in the kind of business we were looking for. I’ve always wanted to own my own business – even since I was a little kid.”  Wendy and Damon had worked with Bucky Pahlen in past to delve into other business opportunities, but they just didn’t seem to pan out. However, that wasn’t the case this time.
One day this past spring, Wendy got a phone call that surprised her. “Bucky called me because we’ve been looking for another business venture in the area. We didn’t even know the motel was for sale,” explained Wendy.
Then, things moved along at a pretty quick pace. “We started looking at numbers in early May and everything was finalized on August 3,” Wendy said with a smile as she looked around the motel lobby.
When they told their children what they were about to do, Wendy said the kids looked at them and said, “WHAT?” But it’s all good – they’re all in it for the long haul now!
“Our kids are a huge part of this. Our family has been very supportive,” said Wendy. She added, “All four of our kids have been spectacular. We couldn’t do it without them.”
While no major changes are planned for the immediate future for the now named Can Am Inn, they do have a couple of top priorities at the moment. “The building is in fantastic shape. Our biggest things right now are bedding and landscaping.”
Ultimately, Wendy and Damon have another priority: “To get it back running the way it should be… the way it was ten years ago.”
The Can Am offers 40 rooms, all with two queen beds, a refrigerator and a microwave. Another bonus: they are pet friendly (for an nominal fee). They even have a game room off the lobby that new games will be added to.
Currently, the Can Am offers their guests what’s referred to as a cold breakfast: muffins, bagels, English muffins, cereal. Wendy is also working to bring in fresh baked goods.  Wendy and Damon have received an outpouring of support not only from their family, but from the community as well. “We’ve had extreme support from the community. Everyone is doing everything they can to help us out.”
Indeed, good news travels quickly: the inn has had guests from the moment Wendy and Damon took over – and they have already started receiving reservations for upcoming hockey tournaments this winter.
The Can Am Inn is located at 406 Main Avenue NE in Warroad and can be reached at 218-386-3807.
As is often true in life, most things come full circle. Twenty years ago, Wendy worked at the Can Am as the front desk clerk from 3:00-11:00 p.m – now she’s back at it again, only this time, she’s the one in charge!

Congratulations, Wendy and Damon, on your newest adventure!

Koren Zaiser, Editor
This article originally appeared in the August 16, 2016, issue of the Warroad Pioneer.
Photo courtesy of the Warroad Pioneer.
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