Carol Shaffer shows the Corinthian Event Center at 415 Hampshire. | david adam
QUINCY — As managing broker and owner of Bower & Associates Realtors, Inc., Carol Shaffer’s main job is to help people buy and sell real estate.
However, when the building formerly known as the Forum Show Palace and Winter’s West Wing, along with two other properties at 415-419 Hampshire, became available for purchase, Shaffer couldn’t help himself.
She and her partner Mickey Tuter are in the process of buying them all from Jon Winter.
“I had this building listed for two years,” Shaffer said. “Every time I came down here to show it to someone, I fell more and more in love with it.”
As Bower & Associates outgrew the space at 2829 Broadway, Shaffer moved it in May to 419 Hampshire, formerly known as O’Griff’s Brewhouse.
“(Buying the three properties) wasn’t even really on my radar of a possibility,” she said. “As the Bower business grew, I used more agents. When I started considering moving my office and looking for other places to rent, it just didn’t make sense. But we could buy that. It was ours, and we’re basically paying you.
Bridal Expo, fundraising evening held in March
Shaffer and Tuter, who live in Loraine, recently opened the Corinthian Event Center in the Old Forum, 415 Hampshire. The first events – a bridal show and a fundraising night for a local fast softball team – took place in March.
Shaffer hopes to lease the middle building, formerly known as O’Griff’s Bar, to a retail business. It has also taken over nine upstairs apartments which are all rented.
“Buildings can never be separated,” Shaffer said. “You had to buy them all as a big package. So one day I said, ‘Let’s just buy these buildings.’ And then we’ll put my office in the east room. So that’s what we did.
The event center can accommodate up to 250 people seated and 400 people standing. Weddings are booked at the event center in May and June.
“There was just something about this property,” Shaffer said. “I’ve always loved the architecture here. I love the granite walls and the bar. You just had to love him. Mick and I are do-it-yourselfers and hard-working, and this seemed like a project that was more of a labor of love. We repainted everything, laid new carpet and stripped the floors. We have a lot of work in this area. It just needs to be cleaned and freshened up.
Building used as a bank when it was built in 1876
Kitchen renovations continue, and Shaffer hopes to be able to use the event center for luncheons, Christmas parties, and other similar events.
“Our first wedding is in May. That’s our kitchen deadline,” she said. “We’re going to open the back (north doors of a parking lot). be tight in the front (around Washington Park) We’ve built two huge bathrooms and then we’ll open up the back walkway so we have all the parking in the back and people can get in from there.
Shaffer said she came up with the event center’s name after researching the building’s history. It was built in 1876 as a bank (with three basement vaults) in 1876. An addition was built in 1910.
“That’s why one side (west) has a granite wall and the other side (east) has a wooden wall,” she said. “You’ll notice the exterior facade is just a bit different due to the limestone from different eras, but they fit together really well. When we were trying to give it a name, we thought, ‘Are we bringing anything back with the Forum? Are we trying to revive the history of the bank?
“Then we found an old newspaper article that said the architecture here was called Corinthian Greek. That kind of thing sparked something. I always wanted to refer to love, because it is a reception hall. Well, Corinthians 13:1 is the bible verse that starts with “Love is patient, love is good” So it was like a light switch.
Shaffer ready to take ‘back seat’ and focus on real estate business
Shaffer hired a general manager to run the day-to-day operations of the event center, allowing him to focus on his real estate business.
“Now we’re going to take the back seat,” she said. “I have enough on my plate.”
Those interested in planning an event should call Shaffer at 217-617-5333.