CANAL FULTON – Mike and Krissy Widuck had a dream of opening a bed and breakfast.
They weren’t sure where, but they knew they wanted a brick structure.
Last fall while Mike Widuck, a relator for Hayes Realty, was searching for a property for a friend, he stumbled upon a historic building along the canal.
It wasn’t right for his friend, but it was perfect for a bed and breakfast. The Plain Township couple rushed to see the building and fell in love.
“It was exactly what we wanted,” Krissy Widuck said. “It checked every single box. It was so perfect for us.”
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Their plans were no longer a dream. Since October, the couple has been renovating the 140-year-old building at the corner of Canal and Market streets.
The cornerstone on the canal is set to begin welcoming guests this summer.
A labor of love for Widuck family
While the building, at 143 Canal St. N, was perfect to fulfill their dream, it wasn’t perfect. There were no floors and it had sat vacant for at least 40 years, Mike Widuck said.
Krissy Widuck is researching the building history and is working with the Canal Fulton Public Library to secure historic photos of the business.
During its more than century-old life on the canal, the building has housed a bank, an arcade, a grocery store, a butcher and a lawyer.
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Several people have stopped by to share stories about the building.
One man frequented the space with his father to visit the butcher shop. The pair would purchase some of the butcher’s goods and head to the park to enjoy the fresh meat.
“He touched the banister and began to cry,” Krissy Widuck said. “He remembered coming in here with his dad and doing the same thing so many times. (The building) has history and so many stories to tell.”
The teal double doors on the first-floor storefront are often the backdrop for senior pictures and many people have asked the Widucks if they plan to keep the colored doors. They will remain but will get new life with a brighter, fun color.
Happy Days Co. opening on first floor
Widuck’s friend Cameron Esber is set to open The Happy Days Co., a boutique featuring arts and crafts in the first-floor space in July. The second floor is dedicated to the Airbnb rental.
Since they purchased the 4,200-square-foot building, the couple has been meticulously renovating and restoring it.
Mike Widuck has done a lot of carpentry for the space. He has worked alongside the project’s general contractor Dave Picot, owner of Turn Key Contracting.
Picot is familiar with downtown historic spaces, Krissy Widuck said, noting he did the restoration work on the Union Block building, as well as at some other downtown businesses.
While the floors were missing, a lot of original pieces remain in the building, including stained glass windows that feature brightly-colored panes in blue, red and yellow.
The couple removed the plaster walls to expose brick walls. Krissy Widuck also spent hours removing the years of stain from the ornate wooden banister.
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The space has been transformed into an eclectic mid-century modern apartment complete with a walk-in closet with a washer and dryer, a gourmet kitchen with a large island and gold accents, and a bathroom featuring black and white hexagon tiles and a large shower with dual showerheads.
Light fills the space as the many windows provide spectacular views of the downtown and the Towpath Trail. Visitors can experience the sun rising through the front windows and watch the sunset through the back windows.
Furniture and accent pieces have been carefully curated, with many of them found on Facebook Marketplace or at local resale stores.
Krissy Widuck has transformed many of the items she has found, including an old door frame that now serves as a mirror. A large wooden piece she found along the roadside in Hudson now is a dining table.
The living room space features a green velvet couch and a rattan chair hanging from the ceiling. A vintage jukebox plays 45s.
She documented her journey to restore the pieces on her social media.
“We are really putting a lot of love and time into every detail,” Krissy Widuck said.
An exciting opportunity to bring new life to a historic building
The Widucks have worked together flipping houses, as well as maintaining rental properties, throughout Stark County.
Krissy Widuck runs the wedding business Sweet Water Caravan that offers vintage campers.
When they found the building, the time was right to look at a new adventure.
Even their children, 10-year-old Reagan and 4-year-old Easton, have joined their parents in helping to create the new space.
Besides fulfilling a dream, the new project has brought about unexpected feelings for the city on the canal. They have even considered making the move from Plain Township to Canal Fulton.
The couple said they have been welcomed by the mayor, fellow business owners and city residents.
‘They are cut from the same cloth as the people that want to love this town.’
Mick Canter, manager at the Canal Fulton Speakeasy coffee shop, said the couple had been welcomed with open arms. They have the same philosophy.
“They are cut from the same cloth as the people that want to love this town,” he said. “They immediately picked up that ball.”
Canter is excited to see their dream come true while bringing in new people to experience Canal Fulton and all it has to offer.
“They are in here every day grabbing a drink, … treating their kids,” Canter said. “They have embraced the city.”
Krissy Widuck jokes they spend more time giving tours of the building rather than working on restoring it.
“We have just fallen in love (with Canal Fulton),” Mike Widuck said. “We see the potential. There are so many friendly and amazing people (here).”
Neighbors have stopped by with kind words of encouragement and gratitude for taking an eyesore and bringing it back to life, his wife added.
The couple hopes to attract new visitors to the city. They hope to contribute to making Canal Fulton a destination spot.
They think their space is a great place for bikers to stop along the Towpath. It can also be a great place to celebrate a birthday or anniversary. Or for a date night or girls’ weekend.
“I think the new date night is getting a B&B and enjoying the shopping and eating locally and getting to learn a little bit about a new place while staying in a piece of history,” Krissy Widuck said.
The city has a lot to offer from great restaurants, ice cream spots and bars to the Towpath, St. Helena III, history and recreation. Visitors can get homemade candy, coffee, ice cream, wine and dinner within 500 feet of the front door of their rental.
From the second-floor apartment, visitors can enjoy the open mic night below their windows at the square or the sounds of live music coming from the Dragonfly Tea Room and Winery. This summer, they can take in the new summer concert series at St. Helena Park.
Mike Widuck pointed out there are at least five wedding venues in the Canal Fulton and there are no hotels for guests.
Cost to rent the space will range from about $200 to $299 per night, depending on the time of the year.
Mike Widuck is confident once people start to visit the area, they will become regulars returning each year to celebrate a special occasion or to enjoy what’s going on in town.
Guests will have everything they need when staying at the Cornerstone. Krissy Widuck hopes to provide a gift basket to guests showing local goods and businesses such as chocolate from Deliciously Different, flowers from the Coach House Floral, and coffee from the Speakeasy.
“We hope to get people out and walking the streets and visiting the businesses,” she said.
Bikes will be available to renters and Krissy Widuck said they can accommodate special requests.
“We are hosts and we love people and customer service,” she added. “It’s been so nice to have people thanking us for doing it. It’s really a dream.”
Reach Amy at 330-775-1135 or [email protected]
On Twitter: @aknappINDE