After proudly owning the resort for greater than 120 years, the Ruttger household offered it to 1898 Investments LLC, a Minnesota-based firm with plans to renovate and develop the historic resort on Bay Lake. The identify, nevertheless, will stay the identical.
The sale of the 161-room conventional, up-north resort close to Deerwood consists of the lodge, all lodging services, workplace services, near 500 acres of land, Jack’s 18 and Alec’s 9 golf programs, Zig’s Restaurant & Bar, Ruby’s Eating Room, Auntie M’s Espresso Store, The Storage, Ann’s Bay Lake Boutique and numerous different buildings and actual property holdings. Solely Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge is concerned within the deal, and it doesn’t embrace another Ruttger’s properties.
President Chris Ruttger of Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge sits on the deck with Bay Lake behind him and talks about all of the traditions and reminiscences which were made all through the resort’s 120-year historical past. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
The transaction closed Wednesday, Sept. 2, and the brand new possession group will instantly start working with the prevailing operational staff in managing the day-to-day operations of the resort. Former proprietor Chris Ruttger stated staffing will stay largely unchanged, although the brand new house owners added just a few new workers members this summer time.
“I received’t deny it is emotional,” Ruttger stated of the sale. “It’s change, in a manner. It’s sort of troublesome to get to that time as you’re going by the dialogue course of.”
Ruttger will keep on as a member of the board of administrators and can present management and steerage to the operational staff and assist with the transition.
Ruttger stated the change is thrilling as nicely, explaining he obtained a name about doubtlessly promoting final summer time.
“We obtained a name from somebody who had labored with a few of the different resort gross sales and stated it’s a extremely sturdy time and there’s loads of curiosity in resorts proper now,” he stated. “So we began speaking, not realizing the place it will lead at the moment, however at the moment it sort of got here collectively that it was only a actually good alternative. After which COVID this spring sort of made us marvel what was going to occur a bit of bit, and I believe like all people else questioned if our enterprise was going to be shut down for the 12 months.”
Jack Ruttger smiles in 2018 as he stands on Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge 18-hole championship golf course, which was renamed Jack’s 18 to honor Jack. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
However the transaction got here collectively, and now the brand new house owners — actual property traders who created a brand new firm for the resort sale — plan to renovate current areas and develop the quantity and kind of lodging, eating choices and actions.
“Now we have many plans to take Ruttger’s to the subsequent degree, and make it not solely one of the beloved resorts within the state, however the perfect,” 1898 Investments Principal Pat Egan stated in a information launch. “We’ll share our plans for this lovely property quickly and stay up for a brilliant future.”
Whereas the hospitality trade has struggled as a result of coronavirus pandemic, drivable resort locations like Ruttger’s have completed nicely, Ruttger stated.
“Being so near the Twin Cities with golf programs, and a distant and spacious facility has been interesting to vacationers searching for a spot to get away and really feel a little bit of regular,” he stated. “Some company have labored remotely whereas staying right here. This pattern is a motive Ruttger’s was interesting to 1898 Investments, and why bookings look sturdy for the remainder of this 12 months and into 2021.”
Ruttger stated the brand new house owners love the resort and its custom — which made his staff be ok with promoting — and have the capital to proceed on in addition to the information of property growth.
“It has been an honor and a privilege for our household to have offered a house away from residence to our company. Now we have cherished each minute,” Ruttger stated. “We might not have agreed to promote to the brand new possession group if we weren’t sure that they’d not solely proceed, however construct upon the Ruttger’s custom of excellence, hospitality and offering an exquisite visitor expertise.”
Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge was based in 1898 by Joseph and Josephine Ruttger. Their 4 sons all grew to develop into leaders within the resort trade and have been influential within the early growth of the Brainerd lakes space as a tourism vacation spot. At one time, the Ruttger household owned and operated 5 resorts within the space.
The eating corridor in its early days at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge. Submitted Picture
Joseph Ruttger got here to the US from Germany, ultimately ending up in St. Paul, the place he labored as a machinist. When respiratory sickness threatened his well being, he left town and arrived in Bay Lake as a part of a cooperative farming colony experiment. His job was to revive a former sawmill.
That did not pan out, however Ruttger by no means left the world. He homesteaded Large Island on Bay Lake, identified in the present day as Malkerson Isle of the Pines and positioned throughout from in the present day’s resort. He married Josephine, and the couple lived on the island. In 1894, Ruttger traded the island to be on the mainland and got here by rail to Deerwood.
Joseph and Josephine Ruttger began Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge 120 years in the past. It’s believed to be longest, repeatedly owned household resort in Minnesota. Submitted Picture
As extra folks ventured to the world to fish and to maintain cool by the lake, they sought a spot to remain and have meals. First they stayed in tents, after which Joe and Josie rented their 4 sons’ rooms and Josie started charging for the meals she cooked. Thus, the Ruttgers discovered themselves within the resort enterprise.
The Ruttgers’ authentic residence, in-built 1901, stays a part of the lodge workplaces, and the fireside was as soon as of their lounge. The log eating corridor in-built 1922 remains to be used in the present day.
Joe and Josie’s oldest son, Alexander (Alec, Chris Ruttger’s grandfather) took over the resort, whereas the three youthful brothers, Max, Invoice and Ed, began their very own resorts, one on Whitefish Lake (Ruttger’s Shady Level Lodge) and two on Gull Lake (Ruttger’s Pine Seashore, which later turned Madden’s Resort; and Ruttger’s Sherwood Forest Lodge).
Jack and Ann Ruttger maintain their son Sandy, who died in 1973. The Ruttgers had 4 kids and their son Chris is president of Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge. Submitted Picture
Alec and his spouse Myrle invested in enlargement of the resort. They took over in 1920, and Alec borrowed $3,500 from a financial institution to construct 12 cottages and rework the property.
Alec and Myrle’s son Jack and his spouse Ann (Chris’ dad and mom) took over administration in 1955. They grew the convention services and doubled the variety of rooms. A convention middle and indoor pool have been constructed within the early 1970s, and 10,000 sq. toes of convention area was added within the mid-1980s.
Ann and Jack Ruttger, Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge are photographed throughout Octoberfest in 2010. The couple is celebrating their 65th 12 months as leaders within the resort trade with a Sept. 16 open home. Submitted picture
Chris Ruttger took over administration in 1992. Right this moment, Ruttger’s employs about 300 through the peak season and as few as 20 when the resort is closed for the winter.