STURGIS — “Gather,” is simply a coming together, assembling or congregating.

But for Savannah Horst and Amy Perry Gustafson, gather is an important word and one that they frequently surfaced while dreaming up their new venture — The Farmhouse Barn.

The 4,000 square-foot barn is slowly taking shape in a field just off Pleasant Valley Road near Sturgis. The 20-acre site is about five miles southeast of Interstate 90, Exit 37.

“When the barn is built, you won’t miss it,” Gustafson said. “Our location is secluded enough to feel like you’re hidden away, but close enough to major towns so that it’s easily accessible.”

This isn’t just any barn.

“We will specialize in hosting weddings, retreats, workshops, and gatherings in this unique and spacious location where we will place an emphasis on the experience,” Horst said.   

They hope to have the barn completed later this fall and fully operational by 2020.

The Farmhouse Barn came together through a shared passion of dreaming big, creating a unique events center in the Black Hills, and providing a unique space for families, friends, and like-minded people to gather, Gustafson said. 

Horst and Gustafson are tapping into the trend of modern farmhouse charm parlayed into a multi-million-dollar empire by Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s show “Fixer Upper.”

The Gaines’s business is called Magnolia. They are based in Waco, Texas and have created an economic boon for their city.

The Associated Press reports that a whopping 2.7 million tourists visited the city of Waco in 2018, with 1.6 million visiting Magnolia Market, which draws roughly 30,000 tourists per week.

Count among them Horst and Gustafson who took a girls’ trip to Waco to see the Gaines’s Magnolia Silos.

Horst said that when you travel outside of South Dakota you see many event barns.

“There was really nothing like the style we wanted. We wanted it to look like a 100-year-old barn, but brand new,” she said.

According to an annual survey from The Knot, an online wedding-planning platform and magazine, 15 percent of couples chose a barn, farm, or ranch for their wedding reception in 2017, up from just 2 percent in 2009.

Horst and Gustafson came to know one another when Horst participated as a vendor with her Vintage Rose business at one of Gustafson’s popular Kountry Junkin’ Vintage Markets held in Rapid City.

Vendors bring everything from home-made crafts to rusted cream cans to sell to others who have caught the farmhouse rustic charm bug.

There have been three Kountry Junkin’ markets in Rapid City each year for the past several years, but Gustafson envisions just one annual festival at the Farmhouse Barn with vendors both inside and outside.

Just what is modern farmhouse style?

“It’s easy, really simple and not overthought,” Gustafson said. “Think of the things that were in your grandparents’ house or back yard.”

Gustafson agrees saying: “Imperfection is perfection when it comes to modern farmhouse style.”

The Farmhouse Barn already has event bookings although it’s not built. As part of their marketing effort, Horst and Gustafson had an oversized watercolor painting of the barn done.

“I’m happy with what we have booked so far with no one seeing it finished. When people actually see the barn, I think we will be booked all the time,” Gustafson said. 

Horst and Gustafson see the Farmhouse Barn as an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and a unique location to celebrate life’s milestones.

“This is a place to celebrate love at weddings, friendship and learning at workshops, and joy and family at special events,” Gustafson said. “We put so much work into picking out all the details of our barn, but at the heart of every single thing, is that we wanted to create a space where people could gather together.”

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