Fresh faces on Lake Shetek

Brett Behrends accepts the keys for Pelican Cove and the Lake Shetek Lodge from previous owner Robin Cessna. Photo / Per Peterson

A new era has begun at Pelican Cove, Key Largo

By Per Peterson

Brett Behrends is no stranger to Lake Shetek. And now, he’s running a business on its shores.

Behrends recently took over ownership of Lake Shetek Lodge and Pelican Cove, a bar/restaurant, from Chuck and Robin Cessna, and Tammy Brink and Lance Rogers.

“My family had a seasonal cabin on the lake, so I was on the lake basically every weekend in the summer growing up,” said Behrends, originally from Slayton. “I’m ready for a new challenge, and I’ve always loved the lake, so I wanted to get some ties back to it.”

Behrends, who now lives in Brookings, SD, is in the real estate business — he owns a company called Behr Built — so he knows a good piece of property when he sees one.

“The property here is pretty incredible,” said Behrends, a 2005 graduate of Murray County Central High School in Slayton. “The bar is a manageable size, and I’m kind of in the lodging and housing business already.”

The previous owners of both buildings did extensive work on them after taking over in 2018. The lodge, which is currently having new siding added, has 10 single rooms, seven family suites and four double rooms, all with brand new paint jobs and new beds. New flooring also is part of the current facelift at the lodge.

“The past owners have done an incredible job of making lots of updates, and we’re excited to take it from there,” Behrends said. “I think a lake with a destination makes a lake a lot more popular — somewhere to go to for supper and drinks, and stay overnight. I think there’s a lot of opportunity.”

Behrends realizes the season window is a rather small one, so he appreciates the previous owners having allowed him to start the upgrade process — inside and out — before officially closing on the property.

“We even got new sand delivered for the volleyball court — we’re going to redo the beach a little  bit,” he said. “We’re hoping to get a sign on the lake side that lights up in the shape of a pelican.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.