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Iron Horse Outfitters and Inn coming to Lanesboro

Fri, Jul 25th, 2014
Posted in Lanesboro Features

Pat and Karla Shanahan are the owners of Iron Horse Outfitters and Inn located in Lanesboro, Minn. Photo by Barb Jeffers

A new business in Lanesboro is creating a lot of excitement in town as an old building gets a new (old) look. The proprietors of Iron Horse Outfitters and Inn will have a meet-and-greet during the Buffalo Bill Days celebration coming up August 1, 2, and 3, 2014 to have a chance to meet the community and let people know what their business will entail when it officially opens in spring 2015.

Owners Pat and Karla Shanahan have purchased the former Olivia’s Attic building which sits on a corner of the main town square. The Shanahan’s have been busy since buying the brick building on June 4, 2014 and have started making improvements to bring the building back to what it once was.

Pat, also known as “Rooster,” was a firefighter in the Marines and then became a Rochester firefighter. After 25 years of fighting fires he retired at the end of June and is ready to begin his new career alongside his wife.

The couple knew they wanted to open a business after Pat retired and had looked in other towns for a building to purchase but were drawn to Lanesboro because Pat said it has a lot more to offer. One of the things that the couple appreciates is the historic aspect of the town and Karla noted that it is important to them to preserve the historic building, built in 1876, to honor its history.

Iron Horse Outfitters and Inn will carry motorcycle accessories including clothing, leather jackets, chaps, sunglasses, bags, and other swag that motorcyclists can use but the inventory will not be just for those riding cycles as there will be items that will interest everyone.

The Shanahans also plan to have three or four cool motorcycles for sale in the Iron Horse. Pat said, “They will be rare motorcycles that you don’t see every day.” He hopes to be able to showcase local builders and designers talents as Lanesboro is an “Art Town” the couple would like to highlight local artists’ work on the bikes they sell. They will not be a dealership but will sell the bikes they display in their business.

The bottom level of the three story building will house a “bargain basement” of sorts selling used gear in quality condition. Patrons may find just what they are looking for in the basement and save themselves a few bucks in the process.

The top floor of the building will be the train-themed inn, complete with four hotel rooms and a gathering spot for those staying there. As Karla and Pat explained, a lot motorcyclists travel in groups and travel light so the gathering spot will be perfect for the riders to spend time together looking at maps and planning where they will travel next.

Passersby have definitely noticed and have been impressed with one big change on the outside of the building as Mike Meyer, sign painter, of Mazeppa, Minn. has created a masterpiece, painting the name of the business on the side of the building along with a history inspired painting of a vintage motorcycle and a train. Both a motorcycle and a train have been called an “Iron Horse” which ties in with the business. The train in the mural was drawn by Meyer from a historic photo of “the Lanesboro pusher” which is a train that sat in Lanesboro many years ago and was used to push other trains up the hill when they needed to leave town.

Meyer is well-known for his sign painting and did research to make sure the font of the lettering was true to what it would have been back in 1876. With more than 30 years of sign painting experience Meyer has become a highly sought after artist due to his knowledge and attention to detail.

Pat and Karla said that they have received an overwhelmingly positive response from the community and say everyone has been very nice. Pat noted that Lanesboro City Administrator David Todd was remarkable saying, “Without David’s efforts we may not be here.” Todd collaborated with the Lanesboro Historical Preservation Association, the Minnesota Historical Society, and Mike Meyer to make sure their improvements have been, and will continue to be, true to the building’s history.

Pat explained that he and Karla do not want to change the look of the town with their improvements to the building but rather enhance it. They love the history of Lanesboro and hope to shed light on a slightly lesser known history of the town, the trains, by having the train painted on the side of the building. The bike trail, which brings tourists to town, was once the train tracks and the Shanahans like how it all ties together. If you look closely at the logo on some of their own brand of clothing you will notice an accent of flames which is a symbol of “Rooster’s” years as a firefighter.

Pat and Karla live outside of St. Charles, Minn. with their four children: Carolyn, 16, Megan, 13, Willie, 12, and Sammy, age 9.

Iron Horse Outfitters and Inn will be open all three days of Buffalo Bill Days selling t-shirts and visitors will have the chance to win one of five Iron Horse t-shirts to be given away or a one night stay at the Inn with the winner to be chosen by a drawing and you will not need to be present to win.

Following Buffalo Bill Days the Shanahan’s will close again to begin renovations on the inn and look forward to opening their business in the Spring of 2015.


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10:05:23, Jul 27th 2014

Exciting. .and welcome to SE Minnesota. Good Luck with your new venture.