Opened in 1958, Pelican Motel has been an iconic establishment in Pelican Rapids—-including a replica of “Pelican Pete, The World’s Largest Pelican” that greets motorists on Highway 59.
Joe and Iliana Clauson have reopened the Pelican Motel. They plan to remain as a small town motel serving the community for weddings, family reunions and traditional travelers. Phone number is 218-863-7829.
Ten rooms are available and open right now, and rest are expected to be available by the end of May. Some of the rooms are pet friendly and handicap accessible, noted Joe Clauson

Painting, flooring, furnishings upgraded

By Brenda Brand, Special Correspondent

There has been a steady pace of work being done as the Pelican Motel has reopened under the new owners Joe and Iliana Clauson.

Joe is a native of Pelican Rapids, graduating in 1985. Joe and Iliana have been married for twenty-three years and have three grown children. Their oldest son Joey is in the Army, stationed in Alaska. Their daughter Maryah stayed in Victoria, Texas where she is studying cosmetology. Julio their second son, twin to Maryah is working for Kenny’s in Perham and lives in Fergus Falls. Joe is the son of Charlie and Linda Clauson who still live in the area.

Following high school Joe spent two years at the University of Minnesota studying Small Business and Marketing. He then felt a calling to attend North Central Bible College, where he studied Pastoral Studies.

Joe started his Pastoral duties at the Harvest Church in Frazee, where he ministered for fifteen years. Joe’s next call was to Faith and Family Church in Victoria, Texas where he preached for six years before deciding to move back home to Pelican Rapids. While in Victoria he was a member of the EDA and worked with a start-up business while ministering to his Church.

Joe is very passionate about his home town and wanted to move back to be closer to his family. With experience in small businesses he wanted to either start or purchase a business in Pelican Rapids. He very strongly feels that Pelican Rapids needs more industry to help the city grow. Fortunately there was a business available to purchase, the Pelican Motel.

Wanting to bring the business back to a motel with a good reputation, clean buildings, stylish comfortable rooms, Joe has been working non-stop to prepare the motel for the Fishing Opener.

The first thing they did was to renovate the home and office area before tackling the rooms.

All the rooms will be newly painted, new flooring, queen size beds, with new bedding and furniture. He also has to solve the water heater issues so everyone can have hot water. The first six units that face Highway #59 were the initial priority for the Clausons. The next units to undergo renovation will be the units at the back part of the property followed by the units that run parallel to Highway #59.

There is also a small cabin that can be rented. He hopes to clean up the area surrounding the cabin and list it on Airbnb sites. The property also has three apartments that can be rented, so Joe is also working to renovate those units.

In the future Joe would like to replace the windows and heating/air-conditioning in all of the rooms, and replace the concrete area. The motel was built in 1958 and has had only a few owners. It will be good to have the motel open again for visitors to stay.

Iliana works in the HR area for Arvig in Perham. She also helps out with the marketing for the motel. When Joe has time, he would like to have time to do some hunting, fishing and golfing. They are both happy to be back in the area and are working to re-establish connections and make new friends.

He also plans to be active in the Chamber to help recognize problems the town has and to make solutions for them.