Looking Back at an Abandoned Opportunity

Old Whitesboro Christian Church

After Restoration

Several years ago, when we still lived in Dallas, after we closed our business and retired, I had the idea of restoring an old church. It came to me during one of our aimless weekend drives in March 2013. We stumbled upon the town of Whitesboro, a town directly north of Dallas between Gainesville and Sherman, and noticed an old church building on one of the town’s main streets with a “for sale” sign in front of it. It has been a Christian Church once upon a time, but had long been abandoned. I had the idea that we might buy the church, restore it in some fashion, and create a business in the unique space. On whim, I took the real estate agent’s name and contact information and made a call. I learned that the sellers were asking $45,000 for the property. I didn’t have that much readily available at the moment (yeah, like, I’ve EVER had that much readily available), but it seemed to me like a steal, even with the knowledge that it would require a lot of restoration. So I contacted a friend and asked, half joking, whether he’d like to go halves withe me and restore the place. He, too, was a shade short of cash. And, of course, I suspect it would have cost an additional $100,000, at a minimum, to make it usable. At any rate, the idea went nowhere, though it nagged me for a long, long time. I really wanted to buy that place. But I knew nothing of Whitesboro and its market for…anything. Coffee house? Event center? Wedding chapel?  Who knew? I didn’t.

So it was best that I didn’t buy it, I decided. But I learned one recent afternoon, returning online to visit the whim five years later, that someone bought it in May 2013. And they restored the old church into an event venue that, apparently, caters mostly to weddings. I found the venue’s website, but it doesn’t say much; mostly, it’s a site with “romantic” photos of weddings and photos of the accouterment intended to recognize and celebrate special relationships.

I’ve explored dozens of opportunities—make that multiple dozens of—to invest in a business or a building or an idea that I’ve opted for one reason or another to abandon or pass by. I wish I had a time dislocation device that would enable me to interrupt the space-time continuum for just long enough to see what would have become of my investment had I not turned away from it. (“To have used “time machine” in the previous sentence would have been lazy and uncreative, if somewhat less pretentious,” he said to himself.)

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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