April 26, 2012 in Washington Voices

Business blooms at Rose Castle

New owner opens events center
Wendy Huber wend@chuckmatic.com
 
Colin Mulvany photo

Ana Wahl, owner of Rose Castle, opened the events center on April 1.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

Contact

Reach Rose Castle at (509) 714-1088.

Rose Castle catches the eye.

Built in 1918, the former church at 2303 N. Washington St. is built of clinker bricks, its deep coral hue accentuated by black-glazed jagged blocks.

Although remodeled in 1970, inside the sanctuary is the original beautiful woodwork. Now it will host special occasions and celebrations.

Ana Wahl, the building’s new owner, was inspired not only by the striking architecture, but also by the passion and expertise of the former proprietor in the special events industry. A Spanish translator, Wahl is eager to learn the finer points of the business. And the previous owner, Rahela Vrbeta, is the perfect mentor in her new role as coordinator, with more than 40 years of experience as a clothing designer and wedding planner.

“She got me very excited when she starting telling me about this building and business opportunity,” Wahl said. “When I saw the chapel I fell in love with it. And the business sounded fascinating to me.”

Vrbeta bought the building in the early 1990s, and operated it as Look Rite and Eat Rite, serving take-out vegetarian fare in the basement while hosting weddings in the chapel. It has been empty for about two years, waiting for the right person to return it to life. Wahl emerged as the ideal applicant.

“I have such a confidence in Ana. She has such a wonderful personality. She will be so good with brides,” Vrbeta said. “And she is such a hard worker, which is good because in this business you must be willing to do extra things to make a special occasion really memorable.”

While weddings are popular, Rose Castle will host any type of function from family reunions to company holiday work parties to presentations followed by a dinner. The main floor has seating for 150 plus 80 more in the balcony. The downstairs reception area can hold up to 136 people.

Wahl moved to Spokane from Argentina in 1997. She is a single mother of two and a property investor on the side.

“She has a spirit that is so energetic. I have to slow her down!” Rahela said.

Since the Rose Castle sign appeared in mid-March, there has been no shortage of interested callers. Before the official opening on April 1, they already had a wedding booked for May, a business presentation in November, and a potential New Year’s event.

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