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New banquet hall, bridal shop coming to Burlington

BURLINGTON — Two key tenants were announced Thursday for The Mercantile, local businessman Shad Branen’s redevelopment of the former Schuette-Daniels Furniture.

Wendy Lynch, owner of Christy’s Bon Bon Belle Bridal, will open a new banquet hall/meeting space to be called Mercantile Hall in the entire first floor of The Mercantile, 425 N. Pine St.

Lynch will also move her bridal shop from 489 Milwaukee Ave. to The Mercantile. That business, the name of which will be slightly shortened to Bon Bon Belle Bridal, will occupy about one-third of the second floor, tentatively starting in January.

And as Branen said earlier, most of the basement will become a new co-working and business incubator space; Thursday he announced it will be called C/O, for Central Office. C/O will have amenities including a conference room and lounge. The basement will also contain private offices that will be for lease.

Branen said Thursday he is still working to finalize leases for the remaining space.

Lynch credited a key employee of her bridal business, Stephanie Heft, with the idea that The Mercantile’s 6,000-square-foot first floor would be a great space for a banquet/event hall. With that in mind, Lynch looked at it and, “I thought it was a no-brainer.”

Heft, who has many years of wedding experience, will manage Mercantile Hall, Lynch said. It should open next spring, she added.

Lynch expects the hall will host mostly weddings, wedding receptions and corporate meetings. She has arrangements with several caterers, mostly local, that renters of the hall will be able to choose from.

“I want it to really become a hub for the community,” Lynch said. To that end, she said Mercantile Hall will host events strictly designed for teenagers, such as team trivia nights and Jimmy Fallon Lip Sync Battle-type competitions. The hall will both organize and host them.

Moving the bridal shop that Lynch bought in 2013 will gain her about 600 square feet and increase the bridal suites from one now to four — as well as putting the business on one floor instead of two. She will hire someone to manage the business.

From the ashes

Branen, owner of Burlington’s Plaza Theater and WIN (formerly Wisconsin Information Network) Media, is redeveloping the former high-end furniture building. After it was damaged by an April 5, 2014, fire, the store went out of business.

Branen later bought the property, which includes an adjacent smaller building, from the Daniels family. He had the main building gutted to its brick walls and is installing an elevator as part of the project.

For the project that Branen has said will approach $1 million in cost, he was aided by a $192,833 Community Development Investment Grant from Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. His financing package also includes façade grant money from the City of Burlington.