NAPPANEE — From celebrity designer Joanna Gaines in Waco, Texas, to local theater lovers, interest has been growing for the upcoming auction of the Amish Acres property. The property is scheduled to be auctioned Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. in 16 tracts. The sale and auction of the property is being handled by Schrader Realty and Auction of Columbia City.

The 28-acre property has been divided into 16 tracts with tracts 1-4 each containing two-plus acres of development sites fronting U.S. 6. Tract 5 has four plus acres and includes the Round Barn Theatre, greeting barn, meeting house and paved parking. Tract 6 includes the restaurant barn, shop and two log cabins. Tracts 7-10 each includes older homes and or storage buildings.

Tract 11 and 12 are one-plus acres of development sites fronting Arnott Street. Tract 13 includes the 62-room inn and three plus acres. Tract 14-16 includes buildings for removal, including the soda and fudge shop building (#14), meat and cheese building (#15) and cider and grist mill building (#16).

A LOT OF INTEREST

Roger Diehm of Schrader Realty and Auction is handling the sale of the property and said there’s been “a tremendous amount of interest.”

Celebrity HGTV designer Joanna Gaines has expressed interest in some of the property. Diehm said he’s talked to a couple of her guys several times.

“They’re interested in the log cabins,” Diehm said.

Diehm explained why the property is being split up into 16 tracts.

“The problem is you have an asset that took 50 years to put together — not many have that big of a checkbook. By offering it this way the market will decide the best us and best way to sell,” he said.

He said by dividing the property they’re offering the hotel in one tract, restaurant in another and the theater in yet another tract. Maybe one buyer would purchase all three or separate owners could purchase and compliment each other, according to Diehm. The other tracts offer commercial development that may also enhance those businesses.

“If someone comes along and they can buy the whole thing it’s a win for the community. If someone comes and just buys the restaurant it’s a partial win for the community,” Diehm said.

Diehm said he’s “absolutely” had people interested in keeping the restaurant or the theater going.

Owner Richard “Dick” Pletcher agreed. He said, “There’s a good number of people from various places with theater or food service experience who are very interested — some are looking for partners (because) they may have experience in one area but not the other.”

Pletcher also said, “This place can be sold prior to the auction.”

Schrader is a realty firm as well as an auctioneer company and is holding several open houses prior to the auction, including one this past week that had about a dozen attendees according to Diehm. Two more open houses are planned for 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 25 and from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 4.

Diehm confirmed Amish Acres could be sold prior to the auction but explained such sales only happens about 1-percent of the time. However he acknowledged, “This is a very unique property — if the right person came along at the right price and they thought they’d save the theater — it could.”

OWNER’S THOUGHTS

Pletcher said he didn’t quite know what to expect from the auction.

“I’ve never done this before,” but he said they “will be in a position to establish reserve on certain parts but not until the night before the auction.”

He commented, “People say it must have been a hard decision (to sell). I say all the decisions we had to make on an hourly and daily basis were hard.”

Dick and Susie Pletcher have two daughters — Angie Pletcher Stillson and Jenni Pletcher Wysong and five grandchildren. Most family members have been involved in the business in some capacity over the years.

Jenni has been CFO and shared, “I have not known a life without Amish Acres in it; accordingly I will experience an adjustment period for sure, but I’m up to the task and equally excited for what the future holds for Amish Acres’ new owners and me personally. I have been shaped by my experiences at Amish Acres and wouldn’t trade working alongside my dad for 25 years for anything!”

Pletcher added, “We have no illusions that anyone can run it exactly as we did — it’s time for someone else to use their vision and see where they can go from here.”

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