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Colleen’s Catering expanding downtown

Colleen’s Catering is expanding downtown after its owners purchased the former RadioShack building on Court Street.

John and Colleen Schoneweis purchased the building at 620 Court St., with plans to restore it to historical standards and turn the building into a banquet hall.

Colleen Schoneweis said the idea of expanding the catering business to include a banquet hall is something the couple has been interested in for years.

Colleen’s Catering caters weddings throughout the area. One thing she hears from people planning weddings is that Beatrice lacks a large enough venue for their events, a problem Schoneweis hopes to remedy.

“I think it’s a need for the community because there are lots of spaces in town for events, but not big enough to have over 350 people,” she said. “There are lots of weddings we’ve done and they want to have it in Beatrice, but know they can’t because they have over 400 guests. It’s something we’ve been thinking about for downtown and finally found the right fit.”

Schoneweis estimated the downtown building can accommodate up to 450 people.

Colleen’s Catering will maintain its current location at 3200 N. Sixth St., and there are no current plans to expand the kitchen downtown. Additionally, the event hall will be available for groups using other caterers, as well.

RadioShack owners John and Linda Linenberger announced they were retiring last November.

John Linenberger moved to Beatrice to run RadioShack when it opened in 1976, and bought the store around 1987.
Prior to 1993, the electronics retailer was located farther west, near the intersection of Fifth and Court streets.

The company eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2015, though Standard General purchased the company out of bankruptcy and kept it alive.

Schoneweis said Glennis McClure of the NGage economic development group brought forward the idea after hearing RadioShack’s owners were retiring.

Main Street Beatrice Director Michael Sothan said the fairly quick turnaround in selling the building since RadioShack around a month ago is a positive sign for the downtown district.

“We definitely love to see people wanting to take a chance on downtown and make an investment downtown,” he said. That was a quick turnaround, which is just exciting to see people that have a dream and passion, and make that work here in the heart of downtown Beatrice.”

While the building has been purchased, it will likely be several months before work begins to transform he store to a banquet hall.

Schoneweis said the couple is currently researching old photos and speaking with area historians about the building, with hopes of making historically-accurate changes.

“We’re doing a lot of research into what it looked like,” she said. “We have questions as far as flooring and things like that. That’s our broad plan. We’re still considering names. Back in 1920s, it was the Spiegel Building and they sold cars there. We want to bring a name to it that signifies what it was.”

Schoneweis is also considering options for the upstairs of the building, with apartments or lodging being an option.

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