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Biz Buzz: The Woods to open near Merrifield

The Woods is opening in the former Chap or Chaparrel in Merrifield.

Former owner Randy Bye said The Chap closed in February. Bye owned the business, including Timbermist, with his wife Pam for many years — 24 in all. Pam Bye passed away in 2010 after a battle with breast cancer.

“I just need to move on with my life,” Randy Bye said.

Randy and Pam Bye purchased the Chaparral Bar and Restaurant north of Brainerd on County Highway 3 in 1990. They added the Bunkhouse Hotel and Timbermist Banquet and Catering Hall. Bye said all of that is going to the new owners who are currently involved in renovations of the restaurant. An opening is expected in mid-June. But before the full restaurant opening the Sunday brunch is starting May 4 inside Timbermist and running from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays.

New owners Terri and Luke Ebnet are starting with the bar and restaurant but have a number of plans for the future of the Woods complex. Everything will be renamed to the Woods Banquet center, Woods bar and restaurant and Woods hotel and cabins.

Terri Ebnet said they would like to create paths and a gazebo in order to host weddings at the banquet center. They are also buying Bye’s house and have ideas for a bed and breakfast there and a house that could provide a place for a wedding party. But the restaurant is first on the list. Menu items are still being nailed down.

“We are excited,” Terri Ebnet said of the move into the couple’s first restaurant business. The Ebnets have long vacationed in the area with a cabin near Hackensack. In October, Luke Ebnet retired. He had a rental car company with a fleet of 500-600 vehicles in the Twin Cities. His vehicles also served as courtesy cars for auto-body shop customers.

Luke Ebnet is originally from Holdingford. Terri Ebnet grew up in Owatonna.

Terri Ebnet said about a month into her husband’s retirement, he said he had to do something else. They saw the Chap was for sale and decided it would be their next venture.

“It just seemed like a really great fit,” Terri Ebnet said.

Randy Bye is staying on as executive chef.

If the Ebnet name sounds familiar, Luke Ebnet’s cousin owns Wild Acres in Pequot Lakes.

Charter announced the launch of Charter TV app available to download for free on the Apple iTunes App Store, Amazon Appstore and Android Apps on Google Play.

The company reported its customers may now watch more than 130 live TV channels anywhere inside their home on their mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones.

In addition, customers may schedule DVR recordings, view On Demand titles and use a Kid Zone with pre-approved kid-friendly content.

“You can even use your device as a remote to change channels on your TV,” Charter reported.

ATEK Companies, based in Eden Prairie with a long history in the Brainerd area, renamed ATEK Products as ATEK Access Technologies. “The new name aligns ATEK Access Technologies’ three product brands, Datakey, Larco and TankScan, around a common benefit — access,” the company reported. “All three product brands use machine-to-machine technology to provide customers access to greater efficiencies and savings, essential data and systems, improved safety and control, and expert solutions and support.”

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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