- Real Estate
- Food & Drink
July 15, 2019
HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” was one of the most popular property design series of this decade, launching stars Chip and Joanna Gaines to new levels of fame. Now, a local land manager and restorer wants to follow in their footsteps to turn his business into a reality bonanza.
Mike Fujan is the owner of Flip This Farm, a land management and restoration company with offices in South Dakota and Nebraska. Fujan has farmed his entire life, getting involved in real estate and farm management about 15 years ago. After his corporate jobs dried up, he started Flip This Farm five years ago, helping farm and ranch owners restore and renovate their land.
“It’s really about helping them out,” he said. “The No. 1 (goal) is helping people and getting the farm acreage or ranch restored.”
Fujan works with his clients to develop a manageable budget for their projects and is willing to drive three hours from Sioux Falls in any direction to reach them. Flip This Farm provides a wide range of services, including trash hauling, fence line and food plot maintenance, wetland construction and more, according to its website.
The wet spring also has increased the regional need for storm and flood cleanup. With his experience in real estate brokerage, Fujan said he also helps landowners with their altered finances and tax issues after he completes the renovations.
Over the past few months, Fujan has increased his workload, putting his sole focus on developing his business’ brand. But his ultimate dream is to model himself after the success of the Gaineses, becoming the latest property-renovation reality hit.
“HGTV, you know, started with flipping bathrooms, and then they started moving into the kitchen and doing those, and then they did the front yard and the backyard,” he said. “Now, they flip an entire house, but did you ever see anybody flip a farm? That’s what we do.”
“We take it from a ‘it needs help’ to ‘it’s beautiful.’ And then we give them the tools to keep it that way.”
Fujan recently started filming his work on a GoPro, interviewing his clients and recording himself renovating properties. Once he has enough footage, he said he will hire somebody to cut it together into a rough pilot, which he will post on YouTube. From there, he hopes to catch the attention of the “Fixer Upper” couple, who were announced in April as the chief creative officers of their own television channel, launching in the summer of 2020.
“It just depends on how much work we get,” he said. “The more work we get, the faster we’ll get it (the pilot) done and online.”
For Fujan, the main source of satisfaction he gets from his career is working closely with his clients to improve their lives. He believes their stories, combined with the unique angle of his business, generate real intrigue for a potential series.
“I do have some helpers from time to time, but I get all the jobs and meet with all the people,” he said. “And for me, that’s the most fun. The payoff is hearing their story.”
“And that’s Chip and Joanna Gaines. They do a real good job of that, you know? They hear the story and say, ‘OK, let’s fix this. Let’s make this yours. You tell me what you want, and we shape it into something that you can manage.'”
Inspired by reality TV and a desire to help farmers and ranchers restore their land, a Sioux Falls man has launched Flip This Farm.