|W21 opens doors: Entrepreneur couple goes big expanding on hospitality ideas|
|July 23, 2015 Lisa Betz|
Photo by Anthony Brathwaite/Gering Citizen - W21 Centre, a special events complex.
GERING − “She was born with it,” said Troy Weborg, describing his wife Lisa, and the driving force behind their latest business venture.
Last Thursday, the Gering couple watched as hundreds of invited guests and visitors joined them in officially opening the W21 Centre, a special events complex on the Scottsbluff-Gering highway across from The Steel Grill, a popular watering hole and eatery also owned by the Weborgs.
Though unintended, The Steel Grill has served as a kind of business incubator, giving birth to the idea of an event center.
Since 2009, The Steel Grill has been the palette from which Lisa could unleash her business sense and personality. Since its first day of business, the grill saw crowds packing the generous space every weekend. Lisa often happily visited with patrons. “The more people, the happier she is,” said Troy. “I grew up in a big family,” Lisa said.
The successful venture prompted the need for more room. Now they have that at the center with seating capacity for approximately 850 people, and 1,250 for standing room only.
“We just kind of outgrew it,” Lisa said. “It seems like when we have larger parties, then we don’t have room for the regular customers coming through.”
When the Weborgs looked for locations, they couldn’t pass on the Coors Warehouse building, which stands conveniently across the highway from The Steel Grill. Largely empty since 2006, the Weborgs bought the building in June 2013, spending millions revamping the space.
After two years of transformation, the building is no longer recognizable as the Coors Warehouse. Featuring warm, exposed brick mixed with plastered wall enhancements, industrial steel beams and exposed ductwork in an open ceiling design, careful lighting figures prominently in the modern sensibility created at W21 Centre.
The centre can host weddings, trade shows, car shows, live bands, and comedy shows. “We want people to come here to have a good time,” Troy said. The centre’s infrastructure includes state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems so DJs can leave their equipment at home.
While W21’s interior presents numerous possibilities, the Weborgs continue to develop the grounds surrounding the building. “We purchased the grill from the Oregon Trail Wagon Train,” Lisa said. “The grill can cook about 120 ribeye steaks at one time. So, we’re going to incorporate that for large outdoor events such as family and class reunions.”
Creative Event Planner Shelby Sharp can assist clients. “If you want to have a wedding here, we’ll sit down with you and come up with ideas for the flowers and decorations,” she said. “Chef Rob Druckenmiller can help with creating a menu. Country and rustic (decorations) for weddings are popular right now. We can custom make just about anything your heart desires.”
Sharp said various wedding packages are available and her services are included in several of them. She said she looks forward to the job as a creative outlet. W21 doesn’t want to recast the ideas of others, but instead prefers to create a unique and original plan for each customer.
So how good was the idea to build the centre? With bookings through summer of 2016, picking dates might be limited. However, there are a few spaces open for the Christmas holiday season. To book an event, call (308) 633-2112 to speak with Breena Schwarzkopf.
The couple insisted during a recent Business-After-Hours event that this project was it, that after this one, they’re done with big new projects. Time will tell but one thing is certain, there is a lot of joy in this project. “I’m very proud of her,” Troy said. “She overwhelms me.”