The interior of The Treasury is bright and airy but features a variety of black and gold accents. The building, which was built in 1909, also features four vaults. It’s expected to be fully open by the holidays. (Kristina Lorraine Photography)

Event space in former bank aims for high end

By Heather Ruenz

     Jillian Niemann

When a person has a dream and not only a clear vision of how to make it happen but what it will look like once the goal is reached, there’s likely very little that can get in the way. Not even a pandemic.

Jillian Niemann, owner of The Treasury, an event venue in a former bank building in Delavan described as having historic charm and sophisticated elegance, is realizing her dream.

“Today was a dream come true. Six years ago my husband and I had a dream to have a venue of our own one day. This morning when I picked up my first makeup brush ready to start on the first model, I completely broke down into tears thinking about the first time we walked into that old basement vault… at the time it was dusty, cobwebs, wood – but I could see that it would be beautiful,” Niemann wrote on The Treasury Facebook page recently.

Although COVID has caused some delays – it was expected to open earlier this year – Niemann said she’s tried to see the positives in it.

“So far all of our big weddings and events have chosen to move to 2021. This extra time has allowed us to not rush deadlines and continue to make well-thought-out decisions on construction finishes and décor,” she said.

Niemann, a makeup, hair and wardrobe stylist previously specializing in celebrity clientele, television, live events, commercial work and country music, since relocating to the area has focused on traveling the state and country doing bridal styling.

Her husband, Ryan, a general contractor and third generation carpenter who does mostly residential custom work, took on the couple’s dream to turn the old Wisconsin State Bank into an event space.

Niemann said they consider themselves lucky to have ordered what they needed for construction materials before shipping issues decreased supply or there was a slow down because of lack of workforce.

“One of the big positives of the COVID shutdowns and regulations has been how Walworth County has chosen to address public health issues. Allowing private parties to go on with minimal capacity restrictions or mask enforcement has brought a ton of brides from surrounding states and highly regulated counties – such as Dane and Milwaukee – and we are seeing a big shift in brides fully re-planning their weddings here in Walworth County,” Niemann said.

She said people want to be safe but they also want to have a wedding day with more than 10 people in attendance. They also want to move on with their lives in a positive direction without letting COVID-19 drown their wedding dreams, but as safe as possible.

“Especially for brides in their late 20s, 30s and 40s, many have plans of starting a family and just don’t want to wait another year or two – especially given the stress of the unknown in planning as there is a good chance that even next year many places will still have restrictions in effect,” Niemann said.

The former Wisconsin State Bank building in Delavan has been transformed into The Treasury, an event venue described as having historic charm and sophisticated elegance. (Kristina Lorraine Photography)

Opening soon

She said despite the delays caused by the pandemic, the work at The Treasury, other than waiting on a few more things to be installed, is nearly finished. Next up will be the inspections but the plan is to be fully operational for the holidays.

“We are excited to see people hosting intimate gatherings for their friends, family, and businesses here. The holidays are personally my favorite time of the year and I am so excited to see our space decked out for a holiday gala or small gathering,” Niemann said.

Another positive takeaway from COVID, she said, has been the focus on more intimate gatherings – quality over quantity – and the need for a private space where people aren’t co-mingling guests with the general public.

“I have seen a shift that people are wanting to put more into planning events since there are less people attending and more is being invested in the small details such as decor, great food and entertainment,” she said. “Because so many events are being cancelled, people are putting a higher value on creating an extra special event for their loved ones and guests.

 

Groups of many sizes

Niemann said another great aspect of The Treasury is it’s not too large, so smaller groups – of even 10 or fewer people – will not feel overwhelmed in the space.

“You could set up a beautiful table in the center of the room under the chandeliers, even add a small dance floor as ours is customizable, layout some of our beautiful gold and marble cocktail tables, close off the balcony French doors to close in the space and dim the lights down low to create a very intimate and welcoming mood,” she said.

Niemann said they have also installed a high quality sound system so they can provide the background music of a client’s choice from a self-designed playlist or various music platforms.

To top it off, she said, they enjoy working with local event stylists such as Simply Detailed and Parker Drive, who are “just the best at what they do and can help people, regardless of event type or size, to make it as magical and memorable as possible.”

Full day bookings include use of the entire event space including the basement, vaults, ballroom, mezzanine and balcony. Full-day rentals also include on-site private security, table linens, general event staff and the venue coordinator.

While it’s obvious the space would be ideal for a wedding, Niemann said it’s also suitable for many other events such as charity galas, awards banquets, private meetings and photo shoot rentals.

 

Bright, airy space

The 5,100-square foot, former Wisconsin State Bank was built in 1909 and is adorned with four vaults.

The goal was to create a bright and airy feel and not be overly moody or industrial, which many renovated historic spaces are.

It features white floors, white wainscoting for character and detail, two large, glass chandeliers in the ballroom and many other accents.

Outside are new, metal lanterns, which give the entire space an upscale, modern appeal yet keep the character of the era in mind, according to Niemann. Other outdoor upgrades include planter boxes with some lighting shining on limestone columns and a gold lettered sign boasting “The Treasury.”

During the renovation, a variety of items have been discovered.

“We’ve uncovered old perfume bottles, vintage cleaning tins, some coins, bank deposit slips dating back to the 30s, old liquor and glass juice bottles, and some 50-cent pieces molded into old terrazzo flooring demoed,” she said.

“We also found a piece of scrap wood used as a walkway plank in the ceiling that has ‘Wisconsin State Bank, Delavan, WI’ hand written on it from original construction,” she said.

In a brochure about The Treasury, the Niemanns express appreciation for the warm welcome by the Delavan community.

“We could not be happier to be a part of the downtown. Everyone has been so welcoming, kind and supportive of our vision and we are forever grateful for that,” they said.

To see photos of the remodeling of the former bank building, visit the website or Facebook page.

The Treasury is at 303 E. Walworth Ave. in downtown Delavan. For more information visit thetreasurydelavan.com, call 312-720-5185 or send an email to events@thetreasurydelavan.com.

 
 

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