New downtown Rochester venue about to open – Daily Tribune

The Roxy, the metro area’s newest live music venue – in downtown Rochester – is slated to open on June 16-17. (Photo courtesy of The Roxy)

Glenn Wilhelm stands at The Roxy in downtown Rochester on a sunny afternoon, a bottle of Windex in hand.

“It’s a good sign that the sawdust is running out and cleaning is starting,” he says with a laugh.

The Roxy, the metropolitan area’s newest live music venue, is set to open on June 16th and 17th with two sold-out evenings of piano dueling. The 18,000-square-foot venue on Walnut Blvd. – Built as a church in 1850 and notably home to the Village Shoe Inn – already boasts an extensive lineup of national acts (Colin Raye, Aaron Tippin, Colt Ford, Albert Cummings, Jack Russell’s Great White, The Verve Pipe, Popa Chubby). , A Flock of Seagulls, Buckcherry), tribute bands, comedians (Bill Bushart) and more announced for early November.

Wilhelm also plans private and community events for The Roxy and hopes to expand the facility to the point where the facility is regularly open four to five nights a week.

Originally built as a church in 1850 and primarily used as the home of the Village Shoe Inn, construction is nearing completion on the 18,000-square-foot venue on Walnut Blvd. (Photo courtesy of The Roxy)

“I really felt there was a need for entertainment in downtown Rochester,” says Wilhelm, 53, who has been a resident for 20 years. “We have a lot of great restaurants, but I felt they were missing the entertainment part of the puzzle. That’s why I’ve been keeping an eye on Rochester for a number of years.”

Janelle Hopkins of Holt-based Meridian Entertainment, which books The Roxy’s national acts, adds that there has been a lot of interest from acts so far. “We look at rock, country, blues, tribute, jazz, comedians – pretty much every genre,” she says. “It’s a nice venue. The structure is really nice. I really think it will bring people from outside the community to Rochester.”

Wilhelm is not new to the industry. He owns the Oakland Kitchen and Bar in Oakland Township and Younger’s Irish Tavern in Romeo; The latter has a small music venue upstairs which mainly features local artists but has whetted Wilhelm’s appetite for more. “I was looking for a step up where we could do some bigger gigs and have some national gigs and stuff like that,” he says. He bought The Roxy’s building about a year and a half ago and started construction in August, doing most of the work himself with some friends and while his wife Katie did most of the design work.

“The location is a real key to what we do,” explains Wilhelm. “I think there’s a good circle here where we can draw on local people and get people from outside to come. It’s a walk-through area so people can come in and park, have dinner somewhere, and then come to the show.” The Roxy — named for the historic theater in Los Angeles and others around the world who have used the nickname — offers a limited, “snack”-oriented menu as well as a full bar.

The venue has a Roxy lounge in the basement, while the main room, with a capacity of 900 people, has a balcony that surrounds three quarters of the building. Wilhelm and his cohorts restored the church’s mid-19th-century textured pewter ceiling and constructed new stage and bar areas. The Roxy has already hired around 30 staff for event nights and Wilhelm expects to add around 15 more staff before doors open in mid-June.

And after all the building and planning, that date can’t come too soon.

“It’s exciting and it feels like a lot of other people are excited,” notes Wilhelm. “If you’re in the building every day, you see the changes; People who don’t are shocked at how much has been done. It’s starting to feel ready. I can’t wait for people to come here and for the music to start.”

The Roxy is located at 401 Walnut Blvd. in Rochester. 248-453-5385 or theroxyrochester.com for schedules, tickets and other information.


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