Bed and Breakfast finds new way to support heritage

Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 10:58 PM EDT
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ST. JOHNS, Mich. (WILX) - Owners of the Nordic Pineapple bed and breakfast say they’ve found a new way to support their heritage without causing confusion.

Greg and Kjersten Offenbecker moved into the historic mansion two years ago and turned it into a bed and breakfast. As decoration, they hung a Norwegian flag next to the American flag at the front entrance of the inn, but dozens of guests and people driving by accusing the couple of flying a Confederate flag.

“They are the same color, but there are no stars on the Norwegian flag, and the Confederate flag is a big ‘x’ and the Norwegian flag is part of the Nordic countries, they’re all crosses,” Kjerstin said.

She said she was trying to represent her heritage, but it’s not worth the frustration. She said they have received cruel emails and phone calls over the confusion of the flag.

“What we’re getting is so much more negative now,” she said. “It’s not just, ‘hey you’re flying the Confederate flag.’ It’s, ‘you should be ashamed to fly the Confederate flag. You’re a bigot because you fly the Confederate flag.’”

To try and clear up the confusion, the owners decided to hang a Norwegian Vimple outside their St. Johns business, which is a smaller version of the Norwegian Flag.

Now, Kjersten said she just wants to educate the public while celebrating her heritage.

“We decided that a Vimple is a perfect solution to our problem. It’s the traditional colors of Norway so it’s a blue triangle with red and white stripes on it. I also do not think it will ever be mistaken for something that it’s not,” she said.

The Vimple was ordered from Sweden so they’re not sure when it will arrive.

The couple says they plan on continuing to show their Nordic Pride by only putting up the full Norwegian Flag on major holidays.

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