Just Like Grandma's
Bed & Breakfast
4 Buildings full of unique gifts
Carol and Steve Mihalchick
This house was built in 1902 on the corner of 2nd and Main streets in Osakis by local craftsmen for the Metcalf family. An early Osakis paper indicates the cost of the house at $6,000. An average house in those days was built for $2,000. In 1910 it was purchased by John, Bill and Tom Brown for their mother and four younger brothers and sisters.
Mike, Ed, Anne and Kate Brown lived in the house through the 20's and 30's while operating a mercantile store in town. The store closed during the depression and that is when Mike and Ed started manufacturing fishing lures. Ed invented and patented the "Basserino" and the "Fisheretto" lures which were sold to area bait shops during the 40's and 50's.
Following the deaths of her brothers and sister, Kate invited her sister-in-law, Mrs. Vern Brown (widow of Bill, former Mayor of Osakis) to come share the big house with her.
Kate died in 1967 leaving the house to Mrs. Brown and her children. Mrs. Brown continued to live in the house, first with her sister and then her brother Elmer. In 1984, at the age of 90, she moved to a senior apartment in Alexandria. She passed away in November of 1990.
In late June of 1984, Meg Jones and Carol drove to Osakis for the day to see Meg's parents, Rex and Mabel Aaser. They had all been neighbors in North Minneapolis some 25 years before. When Meg saw the For Sale sign on the neat old house at 2nd and Main, she made hasty arrangements to see it. Carol followed along having no intention of every buying a house in Osakis. But after a quick walk through the house and a long drive back to the cities alone, all kinds of interesting possibilities popped into her head.
In just two days, Carol convinced Steve to drive up to see her new discovery. Two weeks later, we were the proud owners of a house in Osakis.
Winter and spring found us working frantically toward a Memorial Day opening of a Bed & Breakfast and Gift Shop. The floors had to be leveled, electrical work done, plaster repaired, plumbing updated and everything re-wallpapered. Rex recommended a local carpenter, Harold Urban, to help us out. Eight years later Harold is still our reconstruction expert.
JUST LIKE GRANDMA'S opened on May 25 with an open house for all the townspeople. Over 800 people came through that first weekend to see what we had done. The name for the shop came from Carol's recurring comment when she had first viewed the house "Look, that's just like Grandma's". Her own grandma's house had been built in 1908 in Minneapolis and there were many similarities.
By 1986, we knew there wasn't room for all the gifts and antiques in just the house, so we rented the old furniture store one block up Main Street and started Antiques Osakis. That shop is now a twenty dealer mall, owned and operated by Carol's sister Barb.
It seemed a shame to let all the space in the barn go to waste, so in 1987, we converted it to more shop space complete with an ice cream counter. Harold recommended Arne Anderson to paint for us. Arne agreed to paint the now remodeled barn, but said, "Never!" to the big house. "Just the porch, "Carol pleaded, "so it will look nice as people first come in." Before we knew it, Arne had the whole house done.
Carol had always thought the house would be a charming place for a tea room, but where would all the gifts go? Lois, one of the employee "Grandmas", mentioned that the old school across the road from her might be available. Norman Grant, its owner, seemed interested in the restoration project, donated the building, and in 1988, the old "12 and 22" school was moved onto the property.
May of 1989 saw the grand opening of the School House, Summer Kitchen and Tea Room. Mary Robinson came highly recommended as our head cook and brought along some great kitchen skills and her famous chicken salad recipe.
Our gazebo for outdoor eating opened in May of 1990 and is a very popular eating spot when the weather cooperates. We also converted the old summer kitchen to a Bake Shop for take out baked goods and ice cream cones.
By the summer of 1991 it became obvious we needed to acquire more parking for the customers coming to Grandma's Carol started talking to the neighbors and came up with not only a parking lot, but another house in which to expand the gift shop.
The Annex opened in May of 1992 and contains many seasonal gift items.. The Christmas room proved so popular we had to expand it by mid-summer. The Annex proved to be a nice addition to what people are now calling our "village".
The continued popularity of the tea room necessitated yet another expansion. In May of 1994 we opened the new garden level tea room for your enjoyment.
We hope you enjoy your visit to our Tea Room, Gift Shops and Bed & Breakfast. Please come back and see us again soon.
Carol and Steve Mihalchick