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Tea Rose Inn proprietor ready for 'something different'





After 13 years as proprietor of Tea Rose Inn, 117 W. 13th, Rita Stramel is ready to do something different with her life.

She's just not sure yet what that "something" will be.

"I'm a person of many interests and have a lot of varied experience, and I just decided if I was going to do something else, this is probably the time in my life I'm going to do it," she said. "I'm just ready to do something different now."

Before being transformed into a bed and breakfast, the house was a rental property for college students. Stramel wanted to go into business for herself, but she didn't have a lifelong dream of owning a bed and breakfast.

"It's not something I always wanted to do," she said. "When I first started thinking about it, I'd never been to a B-and-B, so I had some research to do."

Stramel worked part-time at a bed and breakfast for a year to see if she wanted to own one. Lasting 13 years is longer than most, she said, adding the average is three to four years for an owner.

Now, it's time to move on.

"I had hoped to sell the business, not just the house," Stramel said. "But I just found out there's not much interest for that."

John and Robbie VonLintel of Hays bought the house, which was built in 1909. They plan to have their son, Jake, live there with four roommates the next two years while he goes to college. Then his parents plan to move in.

"I just have a very good feeling about the house being in their hands," Stramel said. "I think they're going to respect the history of the house."

Closing her business tugged at Stramel's heart.

"It really was an emotional time for me," she said. "I don't get too attached to things. The emotion came from, really, the relationships that I've formed in the course of running the B-and-B."

Much of the inn's contents will be auctioned off at 10 a.m. Saturday at The Mall, 2918 Vine, in front of the former Fashion Bug storefront. Stramel said she has received many gifts in her 13 years with the inn, and she can't possibly keep them all.

"Some of them are going to show up in the auction, and I have some trepidation about that," she said. "I just hope people understand that I have to really tear down the amount of stuff in my life. I'll probably never again live in a house that big."

Stramel doesn't even know what town she will live in next, let alone, what house. It's wherever her next adventure takes her. Since she closed the inn, Stramel has spent the last few weeks traveling, sorting things out.

"Part of the reason for this road trip was to clear my head," Stramel said. "I'm going to spend a few more weeks just kind of figuring out what's going to come next.

"Whatever I do has to be something I love."