For three friends, 320 on Main was a dream at least three years in the making.
Susan Gebhart, Tommy Duncan and Brian Courtney talked about running an event venue together for years but the idea didn't gain traction until Gebhart was tasked with helping her daughter find the perfect venue for her wedding.
"I was talking to them and said 'Oh my gosh, you guys, we really need to do this.' You have no idea how hard it is to find someplace cool that's not already booked a year in advance and particularly on this side of Tulsa. There are a few very nice ones but they're a very definite look and if that's not the look you're after, you'll come up dry," Gebhart said. "Once again that stimulated the conversation. So Thanksgiving weekend Tommy called Brian and I and said 'there's a building on Main Street we could have access to. Let's go look.' So Thanksgiving Saturday we all went and toured through this building."
The trio was hooked and it wasn't long before demolition and renovation started.
The space that was to become 320 did a complete 180 first— "It was divided into CPA offices up front and a dance studio in the back and a one bedroom apartment. Very quickly we got in there and sort of completely re-did the interior of that building. We didn't have to make a whole lot of changes to the outside, just a little face lift to the facade, but the inside is dramatically different. But what's cool about it is that it still maintains a lot of the original bones and features that were original to the building. We were very conscious when we went through it that we wanted to maintain the historical integrity so it had that feel when you walked through the front door."
Gebhart had a specific goal in mind when it came to decorating the space—”When people come in we wanted them to be met with a space that was already pretty in and of it's own and didn't require a whole lot of extra decorating to make it nice for an event. But also wasn't so decorated that it had a real definite vibe where a client couldn't come in and do their own thing. I feel like we hit the sweet spot when it came to decorating between country farm house and a little industrial and a little historical. So depending on the person's taste they can come in and make it look how they want building on those things.
The venue opened March 1 and it didn't take long for word of the space to travel.
Gebhart said they were booked every weekend in March, three out of four weekends in April and every weekend in May.
Events, she said, range from baby showers, wedding showers, birthday parities, business meetings of all sizes and even a memorial service.
Whether it's a business meeting for 10 people or a wedding with 225 guests, Gebhart said they try to have everything people will need.
Trying to foresee, and accommodate, any need led to the trio converting the one bedroom apartment space to a bridal loft.
"We took the one bedroom apartment that's in the back of the property and converted it into a very spacious and nice bridal loft so that when we have a wedding we can send the bride and her party upstairs. They have a full bathroom, a full kitchen, a big beauty center and a really nice place to hang out for the day and get ready," Gebhart said.
Brides love the space, but Gebhart said that's not her favorite part of the venue.
"My favorite part is the ballroom. When we did the renovation we literally turned the stairway around so it goes a different direction from the gallery to the ballroom. When you walk into the ballroom space it's this big room with original wood floors, tall ceilings, a brick column, and overhead trusses. And of course I had to have a shiplap wall at one end with really beautiful barn doors. At the other end is the staircase going up to the gallery, which has an exposed original brick wall. When you're standing in the ballroom you see all these things and it just makes for a really pretty deal," she said.
Like the space, the name is a little modern and a little traditional.
"The physical address is 320 West Will Rogers. We thought that with Main Street Tavern being in town and the District on Main we liked that naming trend so we thought, we'll just be 320 on Main," she said.
Gebhart said they did extensive market research on pricing and features— "When you come to us you get a rational price with a lot of stuff included in that price. We really committed to the idea of putting a place in Claremore that had a cool vibe you'd think you have to go to Tulsa for."
For more information about the venue, visit 320onMain.com