With a world that is always changing and growing, it’s important to take stock of our locally owned businesses. Whether they are our farms, our factories, or even our places to live, these home sprung endeavors demonstrate that unique American ability of taking hold of empty land and turning it into something dear. That was Sam F. Skaff’s vision 60 years ago, and today it still burns bright right here in Fargo.Skaff spent World War II in the Signal Core, operating radio equipment and intercepting Axis transmissions in order to decode them. When the war ended he stayed in the field of electronics, only now in a more peaceful way as a door-to-door Electrolux vacuum salesman in Bismarck, ND. In 1957, Skaff bought his first rental property in Bismarck, marking the beginning of Skaff Apartments. He relocated years later to work as the regional manager for Electrolux in Fargo/Moorhead, and continued to purchase and build property in Moorhead, MN. He eventually decided to part ways with Electrolux to focus on real estate full-time.
In 1972, Skaff’s son Samuel J. Skaff took over the management from his father. Samuel continued to grow the business in Moorhead, and eventually jumped to the other side of the river and began developing in Fargo as well. “There’s something my dad always taught me: To keep God first, family second, and work third. But work is very important,” said Samuel. This has set the standard for his life and the vision for the company.
In 1994, Samuel purchased 22 acres of farmland in Fargo, and they began slowly developing it. The city grew all around their land, making it the prime location for their new flagship apartment building, the recently fully opened Stone West Village in Fargo. The Skaffs set out to make Stone West Village great for the same reason Fargo is, which is its sense of community.
Today Samuel’s son and two of his daughters work with him at Skaff Apartments. “Our family is blessed to continue my grandpa’s legacy,” said Nate Skaff, Samuel’s son.
“Growing up in the family business, I learned to love everything about giving people a home,” said Julie Stoe, Samuel’s youngest daughter. “That extends beyond giving them four walls and a roof over their heads. You’ve got to create a sense of community to truly make them a home. That’s what we emphasize with Stone West Village. We built it with lots of places for our residents and their friends to come together, including a wellness center, yoga studio, and community room. Our game room has all sorts of activities to conspire over with indoor bocce ball, a pool table, foosball, bubble hockey, and even an arcade machine.”
“We’re very pleased to see our residents taking advantage of our amenities when they have company over,” said Jenna Stowers, Samuel’s daughter. “Our 20-seat theater room is perfect for entertaining in the winter, especially during the Super Bowl, and our rooftop terrace with its fireplace and grill is very popular with the weekend crowd. We also have a big porch overlooking our babbling brook outside. It’s fully screened, because whatever you think about community, you’d never want extend it to the mosquitoes!”
“We’re proud to host several locally owned businesses on the first floor of Stone West Village as well: our restaurant Cracked Pepper, Adae Salon, Alterations by L, Family Institute, our home goods store Eco Chic Boutique, and Core Health Chiro,” continued Jenna. “Stone West Village is unique to Fargo for the number of amenities we offer.”
Indeed, Stone West Village’s comprehensive list of accommodations is the best example of Skaff Apartments’ devotion to their residents’ well-being. And their community is growing — with only a few months passed after the new building’s second phase of leasing, there are still a few open spots to join fellow Fargoans at the theater, the grill, the pool table, or by the brook.
By David Scheller