GRAND RAPIDS — A rental and event-planning company plans to expand its offerings in Grand Rapids by opening a 2,200-square-foot event space in the city’s Roosevelt Park neighborhood.
In order to meet the growing demand for event venues, Special Occasions LLC plans to open the event space in an existing building at 846 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. SW southwest of downtown and adjacent to its current storefront. The company hires out chairs, linens and centerpieces for a range of events including weddings and corporate events.
The Grand Rapids Planning Commission is set to consider a special land use permit for event space at its meeting on Thursday.
The first phase of the renovation works has been completed and the place should open in early 2023.
“We love our role in the events industry, and now it’s fun to tackle new aspects of events,” said Jamie Carnes, owner of Special Occasions. “We are excited about the location itself. It’s all part of the redevelopment corridor and it’s a wonderful neighborhood near so many other things going on. We are excited to be part of all that is being built in this space.
The future location would be just north of another redevelopment at 900 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. SW, where co-owner of grocery store Supermercado Mexico plans to invest $4.1 million in vacant retail and office property, as MiBiz Previously reported.
The special occasion space would have a capacity of 145 people for a wide range of events, Carnes said. Weekends would likely focus on weddings while more corporate events would likely take place during the week, she said.
Special Occasions is about 15 years old and changed ownership about five years ago to Carnes and its business partner, Keri Kujala. Special Occasions also has a location at Le Grand Blanc. This is the company’s first foray into operating an event venue, but Carnes has previous experience running a venue before taking on special occasions, she said. .
“The words ‘pent up demand’ (for weddings and events) seem to be insufficient to explain the tidal wave that has occurred,” Carnes said. “We’ve had to get creative with our business over the past two years, but then the tap was turned on full blast overnight and it really didn’t stop. Before there was a flow and a ebb of events, but we haven’t seen that this year – it’s been non-stop, there’s been no downtime.
Special Occasions is currently in the process of interviewing and hiring additional employees to staff the event space. Pure Architects, based in Walker, is the designer of the project.
“We want to make sure that we have a very diverse team of people and suppliers involved in all areas – women, minorities and LGBTQ. We are completing this process now,” Carnes said. “We will continue to work in the neighborhood and partner with local businesses as well.”
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