Chamber welcomes new event space Venue 132 to downtown Dowagiac

Published 9:44 am Thursday, December 9, 2021

DOWAGIAC — Instead of a ribbon-cutting ceremony when new businesses open, the Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce has been hosting ribbon-tying ceremonies as of late to signify a bond created with the city and area businesses.

The newest member to be tied into the community is downtown’s Venue 132, which hosted the latest Chamber after hours event Wednesday evening.

Located at 132 Front St. between Wood Fire Italian Trattoria and Caruso’s Candy and Soda Shop, Venue 132 is a multipurpose venue that holds up to 100 people and is available to rent for “any event worth celebrating,” according to owners Brian and Michelle Milnamow.

“The fact that I literally could not find a parking spot … means we’ve got a lively, thriving small downtown,” said Dowagiac Mayor Don Lyons. “It’s made because of people like yourself – people like everyone here tonight that has invested themselves, their time, their money into this community and made it what it is.”

The couple purchased the building in 2019, and have restored the space down to its original tin ceilings and brick walls while adding some signature touches such as dimmable crystal chandeliers.

Rental pricing options vary from two hours and $150 to 14-plus hours and $3,900, with cheaper rates on weekdays. The most expensive package includes the use of stereo, projection and lighting equipment, while the most basic package includes tables, chairs and use of a dry bar.

“There are other places that are bigger and charge a lot more,” Brian Milnamow said. “We’re hoping to make it more affordable.”

Brian Milnamow said the vibrant downtown is what drew the couple to Dowagiac, and he hopes that Venue 132 can help tie the community and downtown businesses together.

“Hopefully this will work out for everybody – we think it will,” he said. “We’ll hopefully bring some business downtown with people that are coming in for events who may not have seen Dowagiac in the past and kind of get a feel for it.”

Michelle Milnamow, who will run day-to-day operations at the venue, said she wants the space to be a place where everyone feels at home – just as the community has made them feel since they got here.

“The town has been wonderful,” she said. “You have all been very kind, very welcoming. … We’re hoping you can spread the word.”

Venue 132 will host its first event on Dec. 22, and is available for booking at venue132.com or by calling (269) 262-1444.