Marion Magnolia Farms opens in Cassopolis

CASSOPOLIS — When Niles native and Dowagiac resident Brittany File was in college, she fell in love with home renovation shows she watched on HGTV. It did not take long until she began to envision herself transforming a space by putting elbow grease into painting walls, building out bars and picking the perfect lighting.

“It became kind of a pipe dream for me,” File said. “I’ve always wanted to do it.”

As she stood inside of a 200-year-old dairy barn in Cassopolis, File said her dream is coming true.

File, 28, recently opened Marion Magnolia Farms at 57376 Twin Lakes Road, Cassopolis. She and her husband, Nicholas, spent more than a year renovating the property’s 1800s-era barn into a glamourous, farm-style event space.

“When we first bought this place, it was dilapidated and overrun with rodents, but sometimes you can just see the inner beauty in old, historic buildings like this,” File said, resting against the space’s newly built and installed bar area. “When I saw this space, I just knew that we could transform it into something totally different, while still keeping some of the old elements to it.”

In a space where cows once resided and farm tools hung on the walls, File has hung dangling crystal chandeliers and decorated with vintage couches. She said she believes the space will prove to have an elegant, rustic charm for any event to be hosted there, from weddings to graduation parties and beyond.

Despite her excitement and hope for her event space, File said she had faced challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as it has slowed construction and deliveries, and caused many events to be canceled. Still determined to get her business out there despite the pandemic, File planted thousands of sunflowers in Marion Magnolia Farms’ fields and invited the public and local photographers to view them and take photos.

“We want people to be drawn here. We want people to be active in the community,” File said. “We’ve already had a lot of people come out to say, ‘thank you for letting use your property.’”

The sunflowers are just one-way File hopes Marion Magnolia Farms can be a part of the community. She also plans to support local businesses as much as possible when hosting events by recommending and using local bakers, photographers, florists and other rental or service providers as much as possible.

“We are really trying to reach out to the community,” File said. “I think being one of the first barn venues in this area makes it even more special that we are able to do these kinds of things in Cass. We are trying to bring in more business here in Cass. We hope that by doing this venue and opening it up to the public, we can jumpstart some other things here in town as well.”

Currently, Marion Magnolia Farms has its first wedding scheduled for next year. Until then, File said she is excited to continue renovating the space, adding finishing touches and watching her HGTV dream come to fruition.

She also encouraged Cassopolis and Cass County residents to visit the farm to view the antique barn and take photos in her sprawling sunflower field — she expects the flowers to bloom for about two more weeks.

“When people drive by, I hope they think, ‘Wow, what a cool, new place in the small town of Cass and what a transformation,’” File said. “I’m hoping people will use this venue for all kinds of diverse things.”

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