(Walnut Ridge, Ark.) – Main Street is to be the home of a new event center in  downtown Walnut Ridge. Known as The Venue, the center will be operated by Fran  and Donald Cavenaugh, and it is expected to open in May.

“It will be a place where you can hold wedding receptions, business dinners,  business meetings, banquets, class reunions or any event you might want to  have,” said Fran Cavenaugh. “It should hold appropriately 100 people, and it  will have a catering kitchen.”

The event center will be located at 117 West Main. The building was part of  the Rhea Hotel in downtown Walnut Ridge in the early 1900s. It was the location  of Warner’s Drug Store for a number of years and more recently housed Kristy’s  Café.

Cavenaugh says The Venue will be decorated in the style of a New York City  loft and will have an urban vibe.

“A town must have a place to celebrate, and currently Walnut Ridge has none.  The Venue will allow Walnut Ridge residents to stay in their hometown and have  the style of New York City. It’s the best of both worlds, small town America  with big city style,” Cavenaugh said.

“You will be able to rent anything you might need for your event. Tables,  chairs, furniture, art, lights, linens, chair covers, dishes and serving items,”  she added. “We can even help with the design of the event.”

The new business is opening through the Invest in Your Dreams program, begun  last year in Walnut Ridge. Under the program, commercial property owners reduce  rent for new businesses in exchange for improvements made to their  buildings.

“So far, Invest in your Dreams is responsible for establishing four new  business operations in downtown Walnut Ridge, expanding the business base the  community needs,” said Charles Snapp. Snapp and his wife, Jackie, own the  building where The Venue is locating and helped create the Invest in Your Dreams  program.


“Hopefully the Cavenaugh’s decision to utilize the Invest in your Dreams  program will get the attention of other property owners in the area and convince  them to make their property available under the program,” Snapp said.

One property is still available in the program, according to Snapp. Formerly  a restaurant building, the available 6,000 square foot facility is located on  Rock n’ Roll Highway 67, seven blocks from Main Street in Walnut Ridge.


“I think this is an important step in the revitalization of Walnut Ridge,”  said Cavenaugh. “We are investing in our dream of what Walnut Ridge can be. Our  dream of a thriving Walnut Ridge downtown is becoming a reality and we’re glad  to be a part of it.”