I stopped flipping properties from 1994 till 2010. But I was still investing in real estate.

When we sold the “red jello” farm it was to buy our dream house in a rural village up the mountain from where we had been living. Collbran, Colorado (or, as my spellcheck tried to insert a number of times, “Collarbone”).

The dream house was a 1929 farmhouse in almost original condition. This meant original woodwork and cool built-ins along with dated bathrooms and a less than ideal kitchen. But it was charming and roomy and sat on a small acreage parcel. We had a huge yard with lilacs and giant trees and tons of lawn and an orchard of ancient apple trees. There was room for all the critters and a big garden and a giant chicken coop. We had enough cash from the prior sale to immediately build hubby a good 3 car garage for all his car projects. We loved that house.

But what I figured out real quick was that I didn’t love that commute back down the mountain for work. I yearned to work locally. So I bought myself a job!

Actually what I bought was a failing business; a rundown grocery on Main Street. The store was filthy, empty, and overpriced. I didn’t know anything about running a grocery store (although I did know quite a bit about food and cooking). But I knew I could do better than what was there.

It is a 13 year saga but I built the business into a bustling, clean store with a great selection, reasonable prices, a bakery and deli and a good community reputation. Each of our children worked there during high school; and I usually had a staff of about 8 – which made me one of the bigger employers in that small town.

Along the way I managed to purchase the building as well. It came with a large 2 bedroom apartment on the upper level; so I was a landlord too. Over the years we painted, cleaned, remodeled, updated and otherwise took care of our investment. I named the store “Marigold Market” because I liked how it sounded. Many small children in town thought of me as “Mrs. Marigold” and that was fine with me.

We also painted, updated and maintained the farm. Over time each of the children graduated and moved away. Eventually it was time for us to do the same. Our dreams had changed.

Our hard work paid off. The sale of that farm and that store funded the next dream – a home with no mortgage. There’s no feeling like it!

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