eBay listing raises the bar for Iowa tavern

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 17, 2001

NORTHWOOD, Iowa – A little slice of the heartland American dream is for sale – own your own historic bar for only $99,990!&t;!–key-highlight–&t;.

Friday, August 17, 2001

NORTHWOOD, Iowa – A little slice of the heartland American dream is for sale – own your own historic bar for only $99,990!

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Al’s Blue Moon Bar, a fixture under various names and ownership in downtown Northwood for decades, has sat vacant since 1996. Now the property is for sale on the eBay Internet auction site.

Owner Barbara Park is hoping the ad on eBay will attract a buyer from somewhere in the country who has the money and time to make the bar a viable part of Northwood again.

&uot;I know it can do very, very well. Even when I was involved in the day-to-day running of the place years ago, it always had customers,&uot; Park said.

Park said the bar didn’t close because of financial troubles. The problem was finding someone to run it. She was living in Mankato, too far away to take over when her son, Al walked away after managing the place for five years.

Now Park is retired in North Carolina and looking for a way to sell the property. Her daughter, an advertising saleswoman in Connecticut, suggested the Internet.

&uot;She works for an ad agency, and said many people are having success finding buyers for things on the Net. We thought, ‘Why not give it a try?’&uot; Park said.

The eBay ad describes Northwood as &uot;reminiscent of the Bridges of Madison County.&uot; Park said the town has the simple, down-to-earth yet romantic flavor captured in the popular novel.

&uot;I think anyone who comes to visit Northwood and sees the bar will realize its potential right away,&uot; Park said.

Park hopes to find someone looking to settle down or retire in a picturesque small town. The new owner could enjoy the small-town Midwestern atmosphere, but still draw customers from the bigger cities in the area like Albert Lea and Mason City.

&uot;I think the bar has enough character, especially if a new owner puts the time into it, to attract a wide customer base from all over,&uot; Park said.

The features of the bar should make it attractive to anyone who has dreamed of running their own place, Park said. It has two vintage mahogany bars, intimate booths, plenty of room for dancing, and even a small stage.

The floor is covered with hand-set black, white and red tiles in an Art Deco motif, she said. Plus, the top floor of the 1885 building is empty and ready for an arcade, restaurant or meeting room. The building has more than 5,000 square feet, plus a basement for storage.

&uot;It’s very spacious, and it’s a very solid building,&uot; Park said.

Northwood Mayor Bob Perry said the price for the building sounds a little high, but would be glad if the place could get up and running again. Filling vacant downtown buildings is always a challenge, he said.

&uot;The problem is they get run down if no one occupies our historic buildings and keeps them up,&uot; he said. &uot;They take a lot of care and a lot of money.&uot;

So far, the ad has generated some interest, but no takers yet, Park said.

&uot;We’re just sure that someone out there has their name on that bar,&uot; Park said.

For more information about Al’s Blue Moon Bar, call Park at 704-799-9915 or visit www.ebay.com.