GRAFTON - After over 40 years in business, the beloved Fin Inn Restaurant is for sale.

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Located at 1500 W. Main Street in Grafton, the property will be sold as-is in an online auction next month. Bidding starts on Friday, Dec. 15, 2023, and ends on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023. Real estate agent Tommy Ruyle says the property has potential to be anything the buyer wants it to be, with lots of history and a prime spot on the Great River Road.

“This [is] an iconic restaurant, but also, it has frontage on the Great River Road there in Grafton, and that’s hard to come by,” Ruyle said. “It doesn’t come up very often in Grafton that you’ve got access to the Great River Road. So there’s all kinds of potential projects that somebody may have in mind to bring — if it’s not the Fin Inn again — some other attraction that the public and the tourist industry in that area are going to enjoy.”

Ruyle, who owns Countryside Land & Auction, has been in the real estate business for over ten years. He has a personal relationship with the sellers, and they asked him to handle the sale and auction.

“For most people, selling their home or a business like this, this is probably the largest single financial transaction they will have in their lifetime,” he explained. “It’s pretty important that you work with somebody that you feel you can trust and that is looking out for your best interests. That’s what I’ve tried to do in my business and the relationships I’ve built. I’m just working for them and doing the best I can.”

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The Fin Inn opened in 1981 and quickly became a well-known seafood restaurant in downtown Grafton. The family business had a wide customer base, but ultimately closed because the next generation wanted to go in a different direction. Ruyle said there is “a lot of emotion” involved in such a personal sale, and he has been honored to help the sellers find the right buyer.

He added that the property has the potential to become any business or tourist attraction. The kitchens are “just like they were the day they closed,” with fryers, stoves and refrigeration units still operational. The coveted location in downtown Grafton also opens a lot of possibilities for buyers.

But while the property presents several opportunities, Ruyle hopes buyers will consider reopening the Fin Inn and restoring the space to its former glory.

“My personal hope is that somebody will take it on as a restaurant and continue the tradition,” Ruyle said. “There’s a number of different ways a potential buyer could go, whether it's to restore the iconic business and open it back up as Fin Inn or whether they have other plans for the building and/or property. So to be perfectly honest with you, I really have no idea where this is going to go. That’s what kind of makes it fun about an auction.”

His goal is to find “buyers that have big dreams for this property” and work with them to make sure they are ready for the auction. Because they will be buying the property as-is, Ruyle noted that it’s important for potential buyers to reach out as soon as possible to schedule a tour. This will allow people to get their finances in order before the bidding starts on Dec. 15, 2023. Bidding ends on Dec. 27, 2023.

You can contact Ruyle at 618-604-8593 to ask questions or schedule a tour. Visit the official Countryside Land and Auction website for more information.

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