Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to

Friday, May 26, 2006

School Building for Sale

this story is from Brian Depew's Rural Populist Blog -

School Buildings for Sale

Aside from the fact that the school had to close in the first place, I love this story.

Speaking from the unique new home of his electronic business TAB Funkenwerks, [Oliver Archut] tells his story in a deep European accent: “On CNN I saw a documentary that the heartland of the United States is bleeding out. The schools are empty, the hospitals are empty. And they pretty much said that they were giving it away. That’s when I told my wife, find me a school.”

So with a few keystrokes, Oliver’s wife and business partner Gwen went to the place to people go when they’re looking to get a deal on something totally random.

“I just threw in school on e-Bay and there it was,” says perky Gwen from her office. “I was shocked. I had to speak with people three times before I actually believed the price they had said.”

The price for the 30-thousand square foot former school: 25 grand. Too good to pass up. So the Archuts packed up their shop in Seattle, headed east, and didn’t stop until they were in Gaylord, Kansas.

“There was no way you’re going to find a 30-thousand square foot anything in Seattle for 25 thousand dollars,” Gwen says. “That’s a minimum three million dollar investment.”

So they bought the school and relocated their business from Seattle, Washington (Population 600,000) to Gaylord, Kansas (Population 145). They say that they have everything that they need in Gaylord: high speed internet, UPS service, potential employees, and a very low cost of doing business.

Gwen and Oliver aren’t the only ones buying old rural schools for new business ventures.

There are others too.

And now for the best part. Have a business idea? You too can buy an old rural school on ebay. There are about half a dozen for sale right now. Gaylord, Kansas set a trend though because schools are bringing more than $25,000 these days.

post a question or comment here or contact John Crabtree,

Center for Rural Affairs
Values. Worth. Action.


  • At 9:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've seen Rural Populist post comments here before. Thanks Rural Populist, this is an interesting, albeit somewhat sad story. Perhaps the lesson is that when rural communities get dealt a bunch of lemons, they need to find a way to make lemonade.

  • At 6:49 AM, Anonymous Winstrol said…

    It is very sad when such buildings as schools become useless.


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