8/13/2014 9:54:00 PM Event Center at Cannon River Winery up and running
Since John and Maureen Maloney purchased the big brick building on Mill Street, they have put countless hours into converting the former automobile dealership into a classy, comfortable home for Cannon River Winery.
The street level portion of the structure was their top priority, since it would house the wine-making operation, bottling, a tasting bar, and space for retail sales and community gatherings. They successfully searched for fixtures portraying their vision of that elegant era from the late 1800s to early 1900s.
At the time the Winery opened, the Maloneys were interested in doing something with the big room upstairs that had housed a roller rink, meeting room, dance hall, and later an apartment and storage area above the Chevrolet dealership. Their attention was rightfully directed toward growing grapes at the vineyard in Sogn, and getting the winery up and running.
The time was finally right in the fall of 2013, to begin thinking about renovating the second floor. Turning it into a banquet facility seemed like the natural path, offering space for wedding receptions, concerts and events for groups larger than could be accommodated downstairs.
The building is on the historic registery, so renovations are strictly controlled. With help from Dennis and Dar Kalow, John and Maureen Maloney began the process of turning a dusty, dark storage space into an inviting, accessible event center.
An elevator was installed, along with restrooms, a catering kitchen and a bar area. The exterior of the building was not changed, other than installing new window frames and upgrading the stairway and small deck on the south end of the building. The deck is not open to the public, but can be used by caterers and for delivery purposes.
Maureen and the Kalows began the search for lighting fixtures, counter tops and doors, focusing that search on salvaged items. Working with Bauer Brothers Salvage in Minneapolis, they were able to find some treasures that fit perfectly with the retro-industrial theme.
The cream colored tub-type light fixtures were salvaged, as well as the stained glass chandeliers in the entry hall. The marble double-sink vanity in the women's rest room is also a salvaged piece, as are the sconce lights that hang above it.
The glass and mirror pieces placed behind the bar were from the restaurant, McCormick & Schmicks in Minneapolis. The restaurant was redecorating, and Maureen was looking for something that would brighten the back bar area. The prism effect of the mirrored panels reflect light back into the room.
The long marble-topped bar was custom built by Dennis Kalow. He also suggested the windows that separate the entry area and hall to the rest rooms and office space. The red industrial-style light fixtures work well with the retro look of The Event Center.
The maple floor is the same floor scores of skaters wearing metal-wheeled skates once circled. It was polished, buffed and cleaned, bringing it back to its natural maple glow.
"We are booking events for 2015, and into 2016 right now. The schedule is filling in," said Maureen Maloney.
The Event Center has hosted wedding receptions, concerts, Wine and Canvas nights, as well as meetings for local and state-wide groups. The Winery has an event planner on staff who is available to meet with anyone interested in holding a gathering there.