Owner of West Sioux building to open event venue

Long-term plan is to create co-op for artists

Jan. 8, 2020

The longtime West Sioux Furniture building is becoming an event space, photography studio and potentially an artists’ co-op.

John Sweets has owned the 22,000-square-foot building at 2300 W. Madison St. for four years, but his vision for the space is starting to come together.

Sweets is putting the finishing touches on West Sioux Kitchen & Venue, which will occupy the southwest corner of the building at 2300 W. Madison St. The space will be perfect for events such as birthday parties, baby showers and small weddings, he said.

There’s a full kitchen, a bar, and tables and chairs that can be configured for each event.

He hopes to use income from the event venue to start making improvements in other sections of the building where he wants to create a co-op for artists to create and sell their pieces.

“We’d start with the lower-cost ones first: pottery, a glass blower, wood shop. We’ll open it up as time comes and money allows. I think we’ll just attract a sea of attention.”

Sweets said that once he starts getting commitments from artists who are interested in the space, he’ll use their input to help develop the co-op.

“Artists could come and pay a membership and have access to everything,” he said. “They could have a booth up front and sell their work out of there.”

A separate shared space for photographers has been operating out of the building for almost a year. West Sioux Studios allows photographers to rent rooms for portrait and modeling shoots. Sweets’ brother and sister-in-law, Josh and Maggie, operate the studio, which sells memberships and also rents out the space by the hour.

“It’s $100 a month, and they have access to it as much as they would like to shoot, up to 10 hours per week,” Maggie Sweets said. Members have access to an online calendar to book usage.

The studio has two rooms with lighting equipment and natural light. One room offers a variety of backdrops, and the other has chairs, mirrors and a rug for portraits and a “really Bohemian bed” for boudoir photo shoots, Maggie Sweets said. There’s also a waiting room with toys to entertain children who might be there for family photos.

Maggie Sweets also organizes classes taught by professional photographers to help members improve their skills.

When John Sweets bought the building, it was filled with contents from the former West Sioux Furniture. While the household merchandise sold quickly, selling off other pieces such as building materials, cabinetry, light fixtures, hot water heaters and freezers has gone slowly, he said.

“It’s good stuff I didn’t want to throw away,” Sweets said.

While the process of repurposing the building has been long one, Sweets said he is looking forward to bringing more people into it now.

For information on booking West Sioux Kitchen & Venue, call Sweets at 605-351-2220.

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Owner of West Sioux building to open event venue

The longtime West Sioux Furniture building is becoming an event space, photography studio and potentially an artists’ co-op. 

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