2017-03-16 / News

Horn Family Looks Forward To Welcoming Guests as New Owners of Sunset Motel

By Kevin R. Hess


Armand Horn, behind the reception desk of Sunset Motel, purchased the motel, along with his wife Sara, in January. Mr. Horn says he is most looking forward to helping people enjoy the many beautiful attractions St. Ignace and the Upper Peninsula have to offer. “I love interacting with people and helping them to enjoy their vacations,” said Mr. Horn. Armand Horn, behind the reception desk of Sunset Motel, purchased the motel, along with his wife Sara, in January. Mr. Horn says he is most looking forward to helping people enjoy the many beautiful attractions St. Ignace and the Upper Peninsula have to offer. “I love interacting with people and helping them to enjoy their vacations,” said Mr. Horn. “People expect their room to be clean, but they don’t expect someone to help them plan their trip. That’s what I love to do,” says Armand Horn, new owner of Sunset Motel in St. Ignace.

Mr. Horn and his wife, Sara, purchased Sunset Motel in January and are looking forward to welcoming their first guests April 1. Jim and Annette Durm, the previous owners, operated the motel for 27 summers.

“After 27 years, we just felt we wanted to try something else,” said Mr. Durm.

Mr. Horn was graduated from LaSalle High School in 1997 and worked with Shelpler’s Mackinac Island Ferry for 19 years, where he learned the ins and outs of customer service. He has also acquired an accounting degree from Central Michigan University which will help him manage a business of his own.

“I loved working with the Shepler family,” said Mr. Horn. “I learned a lot about how to take care of people.”

Itching to try something new, he approached his wife in May 2015 to pitch the idea of buying a hotel.

“He’s a dreamer. I tend to be the dream crusher,” joked Mrs. Horn. “He had to make sure all his ducks were in a row before he pitched the idea to me.”

After nearly eight months, the couple decided to lease the Aurora Borealis Motel for the season, with the option to buy it outright when the season was over.

“We had a great season and we really enjoyed the people,” said Mr. Horn, but family considerations led them to reconsider.

“With two young boys, there wasn’t a lot of room for them to play, and we were so close to busy streets. We wanted something that fit our family needs more,” he said.

They researched their options and soon learned of the availability of the Sunset Motel. It’s size and location were two factors that made it intriguing.

“There’s a lot of woods here, a lot of space for the kids to enjoy. Plus we’re not in the busyness of downtown traffic. We’re still in a great location for travelers, and we’re near a great restaurant,” said Mr. Horn.

The Sunset Motel has 15 motel rooms and three year-around rentals. Mr. and Mrs. Durm had one employee who Mr. Horn will continue to employ. Mrs. Horn will not be as involved in the day-to day operation of the motel. She works with Shepler’s and will focus her time at home on the couple’s three children, James, 5, Garrett, 3, and Dessa, 1 month. Mr. Horn has been organizing the guest reception area, setting up the computer, and decorating with pictures of area attractions, such as the Cut River Bridge and Tahquamenon Falls.

“When I tell people about these great attractions they can enjoy for free, I can show them a picture of what they look like,” said Mr. Horn. “It’s fun helping people enjoy their vacation. I can’t wait.”

The Sunset Motel is at 786 US-2, next to Timmy Lee’s Pub.

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