Winona Airbnb Highlights Popular Tourist Spots in Previous Video Vision Store – Post Bulletin

WINONA — When Michael Onstad’s business plan changed, it meant the former Video Vision store would share a new spotlight as an Airbnb, one that highlights the unique building and popular spots in Winona.

Rental near US Highway 61 shares fictional moments in Winona’s history: a giant squid in East Lake Winona, Bigfoot’s indulgence at Bloedow’s Bakery, robots defeating aliens at an intergalactic Sugarloaf gas station, and a secret NASA base in VideoVision. Moments in history are marked with interior murals by artist Winona Sarah Johnson of The Joy Labs.

“We have a fun story in each room, we have a theme at the entrance, but it’s still a very nice, clean place where you won’t feel weird about staying there,” Onstad said of the Airbnb location, which opened in May 2022.

Winona-Air-BnB-Bigfoot-Room.jpg

Bigfoot Devours Bloedow’s room from 1974 in an Airbnb site in Winona. Room themes are based on fictional moments in Winona’s history.

Contributed / Michael Onstad

The signs in the rooms also encourage people to visit the Winona Lake Trails and the Minnesota Museum of Marine Art. Winona’s ties extend to Winona Ryder movie posters and a giant Minnesota sign proudly depicting Winona’s rivers, donuts, bluffs, art, trails, canoes and history at the front entrance.

In a “backwards” trip, Onstad bought the property in 2019 before plans to move to another company were finalized. Instead, the business became an Airbnb rental with four rooms available between the two floors. Guests can reserve rooms individually or reserve all rooms depending on the size of their group. The rooms are suitable for two to four people each.

“We’re a corporate work town, we’re going to have a lot of people traveling for work, we’re going to have young couples, we’re not really going to get the large groups of people to stay and if we do they can rent multiple rooms,” Onstad said.

The building itself has attracted interest for a long time, since it was built in the 1980s. Steel, more typical of farm buildings, “really (pushed) the boundaries at the time” with the goal that the building ” stand out,” Onstad said of Video Vision’s original owners, Doug and Mary.

“I really like the building, you either really like it or you don’t like it,” Onstad said. “It is very unique, it has character. I really get it.”

He also owns the former Sears store in downtown Winona and previously owned two college housing units for rent.

Exterior changes “imitate” the original character of the building, such as the use of aluminum corrugated sheet metal to cover the blue stripes and holes for air conditioning units that were added over the years, Onstad said. The building was built with recycled corrugated steel.

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Construction of an Airbnb in Winona, which opened in May 2022, after hosting the Video Vision video rental store from the 1980s until 2019.

Contributed / Michael Onstad

Whether people loved Onstad’s idea for the building or didn’t know what an Airbnb was, he said the people he met along the way were the stars of the project. He chatted with community members, passers-by and the building’s designer, who lives in South Africa.

As Winona’s oldest video store, from the 1980s to 2019, Dennis Darst of Video Vision enjoyed sharing stories. Onstad is working to “maintain the nostalgia” with elements from the film, such as a guest book based on the film’s vouchers and VHS tapes for guests to rent.

“I have good memories of going there and renting movies myself. And you know I remember… a specific time when my friend would maybe also buy Dennis movies, a very kind soul, a great person. I think he connected a lot with a lot of people who were willing to give him time to do that,” Onstad said. “He had many return customers because of his generosity and kindness. And he was quite proud to be one of the oldest in the nation.”

MORE WINONA AIRBNB PHOTOS:

Winona-Air-BnB-NASA-Room.jpg

The 1958 NASA Code Name Video Vision room at an Airbnb site in Winona. Room themes are based on fictional moments in Winona’s history.

Contributed / Michael Onstad

Winona-Air-BnB-Squid-Room.jpg

The 1928 Giant Squid Discovery room at an Airbnb site in Winona. Room themes are based on fictional moments in Winona’s history.

Contributed / Michael Onstad

Winona-Air-BnB-Entrance.jpg

A large Minnesota sign proudly depicts Winona’s rivers, donuts, bluffs, art, trails, canoes, and history at the front entrance of a Winona Airbnb site.

Contributed / Michael Onstad

Winona-Air-BnB-Video-Vision.jpg

The former Video Vision store in Winona was converted to an Airbnb rental as of May 2022.

Contributed / Michael Onstad

Winona-Air-BnB-Bathroom-Poster.jpg

Movie posters are displayed in the bathrooms of the boutique Airbnb site in Winona.

Contributed / Michael Onstad

Video Vision Remodeling.PNG

Video Vision branding is removed in the process of redeveloping the movie rental business into an Airbnb in Winona, which opened in May 2022.

Contributed / Michael Onstad

Winona-AirBnB-Alien-Robot-Room.jpg

Room 2078 Alien Robots Invasion Room on an Airbnb site in Winona. Room themes are based on fictional moments in Winona’s history.

Contributed / Michael Onstad

Winona-AirBnB-Exterior.jpg

A boutique Airbnb site near US 61 that used to house the Video Vision video rental store in Winona.

Contributed / Michael Onstad

Winona-AirBnB-Bigfoot-Room.jpg

Bigfoot Devours Bloedow’s room from 1974 in an Airbnb site in Winona. Room themes are based on fictional moments in Winona’s history.

Contributed / Michael Onstad

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