New Suede event center works for niche in market (video)

Corporate event planners and brides-to-be looking for a venue for the big day will find a wide array of options in Loveland.

There are rustic and scenic ranches west of town, classy hotel event centers in east and west Loveland, and

many varied choices in between.

Lisa Russell, event manager at the four-year-old Garden Room, said she has noticed a number of new locations opening in Northern Colorado but thinks Loveland still could use some more, especially in the 300- to 400-guest range.

Her facility can accommodate 250 people in banquet-style seating, and she said the Garden Room has been popular for weddings. “That’s definitely our bread and butter.”

At 697 N. Denver Ave. in a business park, the Garden

Room doesn’t have the scenery of a wildflower meadow, but it has a classy remodeled interior. And its prices fall in the “moderate to lower end,” Russell said.

Jim Worthen, director of investor relations at the Loveland Chamber of Commerce, said people always are looking for a venue for their events, whether it’s a reunion, a big party, a wedding or a meeting. They will be seeking the right ambience and “who gives you the best bang for the buck,” he said.

Worthen said new venues can succeed in Loveland “as long as they would really try to carve out a niche that is unique and different. There’s always room for innovation.”

New Suede

The owners of Suede, a new event center in south Loveland, are

working on their own niche. And they don’t go in for neutral.

But if you don’t like what’s on the walls of their venue at 418 SE Eighth St., just say so, because they have four warehouses full of furniture and artwork, and they’d be happy to redecorate for your event.

Roland Demers and Cassandra Breen launched Suede in January as an outgrowth of their Consignment Café used furniture store and coffee shop in downtown Loveland.

The couple, who were engaged at Suede on New Year’s Eve, opened the shop at 111 E. Fifth St. in October. As they collected more furniture and art from auctions and other sales, they thought about adding “an extended showroom,” and looked at the Southeast Eighth Street unit.

“When I

walked in, I saw something different,” Demers said.

He saw a 2,500-square-foot venue where they could offer space for comedy shows, theater events, parties, art exhibits, wedding receptions — “all focused on art.”

The two have filled the unassuming Unit B2 in an industrial and warehouse district with artwork, new lighting, two sound systems and three separate rooms that can host different events at the same time.

The walls are adorned with large portraits by Denver artist Eric Dee of iconic figures such as Elvis Presley, Jim Morrison, Mick Jagger, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Clark Gable and many more.

At the back hangs a 20-foot-high garage door — a reminder of the unit’s original purpose. Artist friends

spent three weeks on ladders and scaffolding turning the door’s panels into tributes to famous personages such as Salvador Dali, Eminem, the Three Stooges, Marilyn Monroe and Walt Disney.

Each section of the door features a hand-painted portrait overlaying decoupaged copies of newspaper articles, advertisements and other documents about the person’s life.

In the corner of the room stand two DJ’s booths that already have been put to use during some of Suede’s early events.

Unique Ambience

Demers said he keeps hearing what Loveland needs in an event venue, and he’s trying to provide it: “Art, music and ambience from the get-go.”

He and Breen said many event centers offer a “neutral palette” to renters, which they said can feel sterile.

Suede’s look is anything but neutral, but they said if someone wants different décor or different furniture — such as a more elegant or romantic look for a wedding — they have plenty of furnishings to choose from and are happy to redecorate.

They also want to be affordable and said they’ll work with people on the price, which would be in the hundreds of dollars rather than thousands for a four-hour event, they said.

“We honestly didn’t enter into this to become millionaires,” Breen said.

They are in the process of applying for a liquor license and will offer a bar for events, but “we don’t want this to be recognized as a watering hole,” Demers said.

Suede will accommodate 151 people, and the area has more than 160 parking spaces. For more information, call 720-325-7884 or look up Suede Loveland on Facebook.

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