WASECA — A new business called Family Ours recently opened in Waseca with, as the name suggests, the family in mind.

Located in a storefront on State Street, this new business is focused on family-friendly activities like board games, arcade games, crafting and much more for everyone to enjoy.

Sandra Berentson, of Mankato is the owner of Family Ours.

“We are family-oriented and this was a way to pour our personalities and our way of life into utilizing the building,” Berentson said of how the concept for Family Ours was created.

She went on to say that this business was the best thing for her family and they understand what families need since they are also foster parents.

Prior to opening Family Ours, Berentson was a silent owner of Nashville Saloon, which is the space Family Ours is located in. She had to go through a lengthy court process to gain the building back.

This was due to Rachelle Schoknecht, one of the partners of Nashville Saloon, who was accused of stealing more than $6,000 in pull tab funds from the Waseca Hockey Association along.

“Devastation,” Berentson said of the situation with the former business partners. “I mean my husband and I tried to reason. It wasn’t working, so we had actually removed ourselves from the LLC and the business literally seven days before the fire...Everything is taken care of. I mean I’m still wading through it, but I’m moving forward trying to make this a happy place instead.”

Though Nashville Saloon has closed and the legalities have been worked out, Berentson realizes people will have questions about the situation. She also feels she needs to apologize to the Hockey Association for the incident even as a silent partner who removed herself.

“I’m always of the mind, because I know the fiasco that happened here was devastating to a lot of people and I just find it better if people have questions come ask me,” Berentson said. “It’s not a secret. I’m not shoving things under the rug. It was a mess and you know my husband and I took the hit and are cleaning up as best we can. I have stated to several people that if this becomes more successful and pays for itself my plan is to send a percentage of our profits to the Hockey Association as kind of an apology for them having to deal with her...and it’s not because I’m guilty of anything but I’m sorry that they had to deal with it 100 percent and they shouldn’t have to.”

When she was finally able to get the building back she wanted to do something with it while it sat empty on the market.

Family Ours offers light food such as pizza, chips, candy and other snack items as well as coffee, pop, cappuccino and other beverages.

Families will find pool, Foosball, skeeball, darts, crane games to keep them busy along with art supplies available and board games, card games and dice games. For the younger visitors a chalk wall can be used with sidewalk chalk, large Legos and small Legos, white board table and other items. There is a cozy area for people to sit and relax with friends, read a book or to host a club meeting.

Karaoke will also be available soon for families to participate in.

“I did try to sell it (the building) from May to October of last year, it’s still on the market technically, but I decided that it was sad,” Berentson said. “It was cold, lonely, so I started from the back painting and brightening it up. I figured it’d be good for sale and along the way I decided that I should make it into something so that it wasn’t sitting here empty and sad. I decided that it would be really amazing to have a family entertainment venue. A way for families to go someplace that’s not alcohol related and interact.”

Since opening she has hosted numerous families with people inquiring about hosting birthday parties and other events in the space. She is open to renting part of the space out or on closed days when she can due to working full time, part-time and being a mother and foster mother.

Berentson also spoke on her willingness to make changes and adjustments to the activities offered at Family Ours.

“My hope is that if people came and they don’t see what they want, they will suggest on my Facebook page what they are looking for,” Berentson said.

Family Ours is the Facebook page name where the hours and more information can be found.

Reach Reporter Bailey Grubish at 507-837-5451 or follow her on Twitter @wcnbailey. ©Copyright 2019 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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