Taking a gamble
The Loves are purchasing Wauconda from Daphne Fletcher, a Detroit businesswoman who bought the town in 2007 with her younger brother Tim, who’s a chef. “We both had dreams of turning this town into something huge,” says Fletcher, 43. “We wanted to make it a big resort.”
However, Tim Fletcher began to pine for city life and returned to Detroit after one year. The grind of running the business side of Wauconda by herself, including sheepish late-night intrusions from out-of-gas motorists, eventually wore Fletcher down.
After seeing Wauconda on eBay, the Loves’ friends urged them to contact Fletcher to talk about buying the town. They signed the paperwork on April 12, using their savings as an earnest deposit. Buyer’s remorse quickly set in.
“At one point I was really crying and hesitating,” Maddie Love reveals. “I was asking myself, ‘What am I doing? What the hell am I doing? What happens if it fails?’ ”
Neal put her fears and misgivings in concise perspective. Her husband told her that if their efforts failed, “we’ll just pick up and try something else!”
“It’s probably the biggest gamble I’ve ever made in my life,” Neal says. “I feel like we’re doing it on sound footing, and you only live once. If I get to be an old man sitting on the porch in a rocking chair, I’ll never wish I would have tried this.”
But their daring feat is about much more than mere revenue.
“I want to be able to wake up in the morning and hear birds singing, and not hear sirens,” Maddie Love says. “I’m tired of the rat race, and so is my husband. It takes a unique individual to be able to do this. I think my husband and I are very unique.”
Blair S. Walker is a writer in Miami.