Tim Sieck and Mindy Seiffert have a shared passion for historic buildings.
They created historicbuildingarchives.com, a website dedicated to storing information about historic properties around the country.
But when the business partners came across the space in the basement of the restored Shores Central Park building on Cedar Rapids’s northeast side in spring 2011, they decided they’d have to come up with a business plan for using the space in a way that celebrated its historic features.
“The event center idea just came to us. But neither one of us has a background in this,” recalled Sieck, noting he came from the world of organizational development and coaching and Seiffert has experience in marketing.
From March through September of 2011 they renovated the space before hosting their first event — a Facebook Friends Party.
Thus far, weddings have been their primary business at the center, followed by holiday receptions for companies. They also offer rentals for business meetings.
“We came into this thinking we’d have a dry spell, that we’d suffer through the first year,” Sieck said.
But on Jan. 1, 2012, for example, they had three weddings booked for the year, and ended up hosting 30 weddings for the year.
“For 2013 we already have 30 weddings booked,” he added.
Seiffert and Sieck have embraced their niche market.
“You definitely have to love old buildings,” Sieck said.
The center can hold about 150 people for a seated dinner, or 225 at banquet tables, and features exposed brick and concrete.
“Our center is a blank canvas,” Seiffert said.
“On event days, one of us here is by 6 a.m., and then someone will be here through the event, sometimes until 2 a.m.,” Sieck said. “But we’re in a happy business. No one is ever angry when they come to us to book our space.”
Sieck said at Shores they also look to maximize the use of the space during non-peak wedding times.
“We scour Living Social sites in big cities to see what is happening there,” he said. “Our philosophy is to offer events and experiences that aren’t typical here in Cedar Rapids.”
So far, they’ve started a successful Cork and Canvas series, a Wine and Yoga series and will
host their first Cork and Cupcake event in April.