by Dave Warner
Krista Kozma and her husband, owner of Fitness Farmacy on West Main Street, are ready to start another business. This time, they plan to take the old Decarlo Staffo Post No. 8 building at 299 Loomis St and transform it into an event facility called Venue299.
The building is going to be a location where they can do weddings, receptions, big parties and the like, “but we’re not limiting it to that,” Kozma said. She mentioned buffet bingo, job and craft fairs, home shows. “It’s not just weddings and banquets.”
They are thinking well beyond that, looking at providing space for performances, workshops, dinners, anything that you can imagine and any kind of event. According to Kozma “just fun stuff to keep the community busy.”
“We’re trying to continue to build businesses that provide the community with things to do. We have two younger children, and our goal is to keep them busy and just have activities and things for them to do as they get older,” says Kozma.
The facility consists of approximately 8,800 square feet of space, with a large banquet hall, two smaller gathering rooms, a bar area and kitchen.
Kozma thinks it will be good for the city, because it will create some jobs for teens as well as others in the area. “It would even be good for our kids – to wash dishes, busboy, to move up to eventually running the place,” she said.
Kozma used to work at Decarlo’s and was a waitress there. “At the gym, we do some events in there, so it was obvious that there was a need for this. One day I just thought – What about Decarlo’s?”
She called her brother, Timothy Allen from Newport, and asked him to go look at the place with her. “He took one look at it and said alright, without even knowing exactly what I planned to do. He just bought it,” she said.
Kozma said that it was a big deal for her brother to buy it. “I didn’t realize how much he didn’t know about what I wanted to do with it until much later in the conversation…after it was already on the way to being purchased.”
Her brother already has a couple of businesses under his belt, and he was confident that his sister could handle this as well. “He’s no dummy,” said Kozma.
She feels that it won’t be a problem handling the two businesses. “They are two very different types of businesses, and I’ve got it mapped out in my head as to how it will work.”
To many, it might seem like a lot, but she has proven that she’s very structured with Fitness Farmacy.
They have started assessing what needs to be done and are hoping for an early spring opening, but are aware that when you get into an older building, there can be many issues. “It can end up being a lot more work than you anticipated,” she said.
“The more things to do, the busier we are, the better it is for our area,” said Kozma.