Nationally in Labor Participation
Couple's vision inspired by being rural by choice
30 Nov 2018
Community Development, Entrepreneurship
When Craig and Mary Ann Stertz purchased a crumbling, falling building on Lincoln Ave., they saw a world of possibility and an opportunity to restore it.
“We didn’t want holes to show up on our main street,” said Craig, who owns part of Lincoln Farm Supply.
With 36 years of marriage to their credit, the couple is still together after years of working out different opinions on the loft renovation. The loft space is located next to the drug store museum in downtown Lincoln.
“Restoring the building, in general, has been a four-year process,” Craig said. “We like doing the work.”
The couple finds the work to be “stress-relieving.”
Mary Ann said they have gained a lot of experience with old structures by living in a limestone farmhouse built in 1886.
Those interested in staying the loft can rent it out via Airbnb, a vacation rental booking website. Individuals are able to rent the loft on weekdays and weekends or by the month.
“We have a lot of younger people staying here,” Mary Ann said.
The couple thinks the building was built between 1900 and 1910, most likely in 1904, Mary Ann said. The top floor was a dentist or doctor office, and the building also housed a hatchery and an apartment at one time, the couple said.
Mary Ann, who is the deputy Lincoln County Treasurer, said she hopes this loft will inspire individuals, particularly young adults, to move to Lincoln.
“It’s a wonderful place to raise a family and children,” Mary Ann said. “We feel there is a lot of potential [in Lincoln].”
Craig was born in Lincoln, moved away, and then eventually returned to Lincoln. Mary Ann is from Ellsworth. They enjoy the slower pace that living rural offers, Mary Ann said.
“We just like the fact that we don’t have traffic,” Craig said. “We don’t miss the crowds.”
Currently, the main floor and basement of the building the Stertz’s own is unoccupied, but the couple is hopeful that someone may see the potential it brings, turning it into a business, Mary Ann said.
“We’ve had people look, but that’s all,” she said.
By Hailey Dixon for the 2018 Live Lincoln County magazine