PORT AUSTIN – A love of old barns and a desire to fill a need in the county led a local couple to pursue a business in the village of Port Austin.
Just over 50 days ago husband and wife duo Perry and Paulette Heleski began construction on what will be called The Glenn Royal – a barn for wedding receptions and other large gatherings. If you take a drive to their location at 8692 Bridge St. in Port Austin, you can quickly tell that the couple — with lots of help from most family and friends — are making great strides in the effort. .
“We’ve always loved old barns — we’ve always loved them,” Paulette said. “And we just knew there was some kind of need.”
Paulette explained that she and Perry had been talking for many years about the idea of building a place like The Glenn Royal.
In recent years, they stumbled upon a property in Caseville that they liked, but discovered it was not intended for commercial use. Eventually, they landed on the current property in Port Austin – a 17.5-acre parcel behind PAK’s garage, which runs along Bird Creek and stretches from Spring Street to Grindstone Road.
Because they didn’t need the entire acreage for The Glenn Royal, the Heleskis decided to split the parcel into two entirely separate businesses and will use the remaining land to create Bird Creek RV Resort.
“Obviously you invest in this property, we had to use it,” Paulette said.
Paulette said their vision for the business was to provide a nice, quiet, well-maintained resort – primarily geared towards retirees who love the area but struggle to find reservations at nearby resorts.
She went on to say that the resort will have a long list of rules and regulations for campers to follow, such as RVs must be 10 years old or younger. She said she hopes this will help ease the concerns of some area residents who have balked at the idea.
“It will be a very upscale resort with very high standards,” she said. “It’s going to be very high-end. But I understand that people are worried.
Upon completion of both projects, which Paulette said are tentatively scheduled for spring 2023, The Glenn Royal will employ approximately 10 people, with Bird Creek RV Resort employing a few others, in addition to family members.
The Glenn Royal will include a catering kitchen, accommodations for brides and bridesmaids, two lofts, a dance floor and several chandeliers, as well as a small wedding chapel and six small family cabins on the grounds.
Made from reclaimed wood from a 100-plus-year-old barn, the venue will seat up to 425 people, measuring 116 feet long by 38 feet wide.
“It’s going to be super stylish,” Paulette said.
The RV complex will be completely separate from the barn site and will include a total of 69 campsites, each equipped with a concrete slab and patio, full hook-up, bathhouse and will be fully fenced. It will be a seasonal complex, operating from spring to November.
“There’s been a lot of thought put into that,” Paulette said. “It will be perfect for this community and all business owners.”