Story by Jody Spear
The ladies tat run The Decker House, Lee Olson and Fredde Jilek (pictured, right), are looking for someone that would like to take over the Bed and Breakfast, that they opened in 2002. The Decker House is located at 119 2nd Street Southeast in Mason City.
“My idea of the ideal person, would be someone that has lived and worked in a big city all their life. They are tired of the rat race and would like to settle down to a quiet life. This would be perfect for them,” thought Fredde.
The Decker House is owned by The Mason City Foundation. Lee and Fredde leased the house at the end of 2001 for ten years, but the house wasn’t ready to open. On May 17, 2002, the scheduled day for the the Grand Opening, The Decker House opened.
The House has six bedrooms, ranging from $85 to $175 per night. It depends on what room you would like and what would suit you best. Each room has it’s own private bathroom, and all but one are in the room.
“On the lower floor, we opened the Sour Grapes Bistro. This does not have to stay a Bistro, the new owners could make it whatever they want. Whatever their vision is,” Lee explained, while showing me around.
“We’ve rented out the whole house for a wedding reception. The Bride and Groom got the whole third floor and the guests got to mingle and have a good time throughout the rest of the house. It works out really well if a lot of relatives are coming from out of town,” says Lee.
“People like staying here because it is quiet and homey. They don’t have the marching band, marching up and down the halls,” explains Lee, when asked why someone would prefer staying at a Bed and Breakfast instead of a Hotel or Motel. “It’s a unique, different experience,” added Fredde.
“We have repeat business. One man came back and brought his wife and kids saying “Your family. You took care of me so well, I wanted you all to meet”.
“Another couple was staying with us, the wife didn’t feel very well. We did everything we could to make her comfortable and to get her feeling better. You just don’t get that at a Hotel.”
When asked about their fondest memories over the years, they said it would be hard to come up with just one, there have been so many.
“When we were to open, we weren’t quite ready. We were nervous about Shirley Jones’s arrival, she was scheduled to show up the next day. We got a phone call reminding us that the Gearhart’s, were to show up that evening, for Meredith Wilson’s 100th Birthday. We told all the workers that they had to leave. Our hired manager, at the time, and I went upstairs, and a water pipe broke. Water was squirting everywhere, I was drenched. I finally got the water turned off, and by that time everybody came up to see what all the noise was about. They looked at me, all wet and dripping, I know they wanted to laugh, but they didn’t. It was such a mess.” explained Lee, about how everything did not run
smoothly in the beginning.
“Another time we remember, is when Dillinger Day’s was shown in the Southbridge Mall. We were to build a champagne fountain, using water. We needed to get the right color, to make it look real, so at 8:30 in morning, we opened a bottle of champagne. We got the color right, but didn’t want to waste the champagne. The beer delivery man showed up and we finished off the bottle. The fountain turned out great and it worked perfectly,” both ladies had input on this story and were smiling fondly at the memory.
“It’s an end to a wonderful era,” said Lee.
“I promised my Mother, who lives in Wisconsin, that I would take care of her. She’s okay right now, but my stepfather isn’t doing too well. They still live on a farm and it’s getting to be too much for them to handle. I will be going to help, I will not break my promise,” says Lee of her plans after the Decker House.
“Whether our belongings get sold, and someone takes over the Bed and Breakfast or our stuff goes to auction, we are done September 30. So, if anyone is interested, please contact us at the Decker House as soon as possible. If anyone is interested, we want you to know that we will help in anyway to get you started. If you have any questions, we’d be happy to answer them. If you have a problem, you can give us a call and we’d do our best to help”.