DEER GROVE – What do you get when you put something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue together? A new wedding and events venue.
The old is Sandy Pines Elk Farm, a popular agritourism destination just outside Deer Grove that closed about 10 years ago.
The new is Henrekin Pines, the aforementioned venue that’s planted itself in Sandy Pines’ former home.
Something borrowed? Well, it might be the idea for the new business – it just depends who you ask. The business plan came about from either an idea borrowed from a granddaughter’s wedding, or it was a stroke of inspiration on the seat of a lawn mower.
And the blue? That’s where the sky comes in – as in “the sky’s the limit,” which is how the owners describe their approach to keeping the customers satisfied.
Jim and Sandy Henrekin opened the barn doors to their latest business venture, at 28650 Hahnaman Road, in June.
Henrekin Pines, a heated and air conditioned special events venue that can hold up to 240 guests – and more, if need be – sits at the foot of a 27-acre hill, nestled among trees and featuring a fully remodeled barn and attached event hall that offers a casual atmosphere in the heart of farm country. Rustic and relaxing it’s a perfect place for private parties, corporate events or weddings. The venue features indoor, handicapped-accessible bathrooms, tables and chairs, dressing rooms, a bar, a mic and speaker set-up, a covered wagon for photo ops, and more.
And if you want to get married outside, there’s an arbor that’s the icing on the wedding cake, a scenic spot for the couple’s big day.
You could say the couple’s new business was something of a bit of Preplanned destiny.
After the farm closed, Jim used the two buildings – now called the Crystal Room and the Pine Room – as horse stalls and an arena. After he sold his prized stud, Obviously Preplanned, the stalls sat vacant for a couple of years.
The vacancy left open the possibility of a new project.
“We’re both entrepreneurs, so we’re always thinking,” Sandy said. “We just thought this was a really nice fit for this building.”
Jim said the idea to repurpose the existing structures and open Henrekin Pines came to him while he was mowing his yard, but Sandy suspects it was their granddaughter’s wedding in Missoula, Montana, that planted the idea in Jim’s mind.
“After hours and hours of sleepless nights of designing all this– we designed it ourselves – we decided this is what we’re doing,”Jim said.
Rehab and design work took the couple about a year.
“When we first started, we thought it’d be done in 2 months,” Sandy said.
So far, they’ve already hosted two weddings and a couple of their own private functions.
“I always said if you want to be successful you need to do something that nobody else is doing,” Jim said. “We’re the only venue that I know of that has heating and air conditioning, that we can be open 12 months if we wanted to.”
The Henrekins said they can host all sorts of events, whether they be graduations, showers or corporate events, they just want to be able to provide the community with something unique.
“We’ll do whatever they want to do,” Jim said. “The sky’s the limit.
“I was born in Whiteside County and I love this county,” Jim said. “It’s been good to me and I’ve been good to it.”
28650 Hahnaman Road, Deer Grove