Local entrepreneur transforms barn into new venue The StablesWritten by Sanya Ali | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Many brides plan their weddings with a theme. Some pick a flashy night at the casino. Others opt for the elegant Cinderella story. For brides with a more down-home personality, a night at a classic barn is the fantasy.
Area brides with the latter vision are in luck. Duke Wheeler, owner of Wheeler Farms, recently purchased and opened The Stables, which he calls an ideal location for brides who want a classic outdoor venue. The property is located on Obee Road in Whitehouse and can accommodate up to 320 people.
Christy Geha, Wheeler’s daughter and manager of The Stables, describes the location as “natural and rustic.” Wheeler said he agrees and appreciates the forest setting surrounding the old blue barn.
“Out the west side you’re looking at Oak Openings, which is a very beautiful, natural setting,” Wheeler said. “We have Swan Creek meandering through the property and about 8 acres of land with the grass blowing in the wind. It’s mostly natural. We’re just trying to care for it and restore it to a beautiful stable, as it was once before.”
Wheeler said he’d rarely visited the site before making the purchase four months ago, but he enjoyed looking onto the property from his business next door.
“I always admired it from the street because [the former owners] took good care of it,” Wheeler said. “There’s a lot of white fence and it looked so clean. It’s just a pretty place.”
Wheeler said he hopes brides will appreciate the beauty of an evening at The Stables. He said celebrating at the outdoor venue can really make an event special.
“You can stand on the property, whether on the front, back, sides and you look out and you just see nature,” Wheeler said. “The sunsets out the west side are just beautiful. You can just admire what God’s created, and I think that’s the most beautiful thing.”
According to Geha, Wheeler decided to purchase the land when it went on the market because he worried a potential new owner’s intended use for the property would not be in line with his own family-friendly business model.
“It was going up for sale and he had heard that it might become a shooting range,” Geha said. “Once he heard that, he was concerned because it was right by The Butterfly House and corn maze.”
Geha said family entertainment and education are key components of Wheeler’s business strategy. Though this new venture is not education-focused like some of their previous projects, she hopes the entertainment factor still exists.
“We just want to have celebrations,” Geha said. “My parents are very into family-oriented activities and they thought this beautiful, rustic setting would be perfect for celebrating any type of event.”
Geha said her family hopes to incorporate the Whitehouse community and its businesses to make The Stables a popular location for all kinds of celebrations.
“When people rent The Stables for gatherings and celebrations, we hope our guests will consider using local bakers, florists, restaurants, caterers and bands,” Geha said.
Geha said the venue places no restrictions on food and decor.
“They can bring in their own caterers. They can bring in their own decorations,” Geha said. “There are a lot of benefits to offering off-site catering there. You have the whole gamut of companies to choose from.”
Wheeler said when people leave The Stables, they should feel “they came to a place that’s beautiful, well cared for, and a relaxed, positive family atmosphere.”
The first wedding at The Stables will take place May 31, and Geha said they have started to take reservations for 2014-15.
Wheeler said anyone interested in booking an event, whether a wedding, graduation party, a fundraiser or more, should come out and look at The Stables.
“Any organization that has an idea for an event they would like to have, come and visit,” Wheeler said. “We’re very flexible on what they can do there. And, with their imagination, they can create a beautiful event.”
Wheeler said he hopes any couple that chooses The Stables for their big day appreciates the care his family takes in maintaining the land and the property.
“I’d just like to see families get married there, start off the relationship in a natural environment and create some happiness,” Wheeler said.