Interview with Penny Dyte and Bretton Grassie – Owners of Venue 308
Learn more about the passion-filled team and owners of the stunning and inviting Venue 308. Penny and Bretton transformed a dark, cubicle-filled office into a space that sets the stage for spectacular and meaningful celebrations. Their authentic and genuine hospitality is a true inspiration and a key ingredient to amazing celebrations.
Upon first entry to Venue 308, you know you are someplace special. The vestibule that welcomes you feels more like a decadent foyer to a grand home than a space that is used for photography shoots, weddings and corporate events. At every turn, the space becomes more profound, with a bar that mimics a high end Parisian jazz lounge, an open concept grand room that is reminiscent of a ballroom and a bridal lounge that invites you in to curl up on the loveseat with a book and a cup of tea.
Seeing Beyond the ‘Man-Cave’
It took a lot of imagination to be able to see beyond the man-cave-iness of the 5000 SF space that Bretton and Penny Dyte transformed into Venue 308. When the daughter and mother team first walked into the 11th Avenue SE facility, they had to look beyond the bland interior of the heritage building that was being used at a training facility for IT.
“It had offices and doors. The openings were man-doors. There were great big conference rooms. There was not the openness that we needed,” Penny says. “Best yet, there was a staircase to the basement right in the middle of the space,” Britton adds. “I’m thankful we have creative brains that can see through staircases.”
When the demolition started, they discovered some great treasures hiding underneath the pillars and the walls. “We took the covering off the wood stanchions in the main space and preserved them. Those are our pride and joy.” They also discovered brick walls behind drywall which they decided to leave exposed as well.
Bretton best describes the space as “elegance and boho meshing”. Even the bathrooms are a treat with their eclectic mix of modern fixtures and insanely quirky wallpaper. “We want to provide a magical experience for people here,” Britton says. “We are experience people. The whole atmosphere matters to us.”
Venue 308 is a favourite location for local photographers, videographers, wedding planners and caterers. “We love the community feel when you find vendors who click with you,” Penny reflects. “There is a casualness but an intensity to it. I am relishing the part of this industry that I didn’t anticipate – that everyone is so good.”
“And they put their heart and soul into it.” Britton adds.