The owners of Rochester’s Arbor venues have come on board to help manage the Historic German House, including assisting with a major interior facelift for the 1905 building.
Edward Zachary Graham and his wife Agathi Georgiou Graham run event venues Arbor Loft and Arbor at the Port, as well as umbrella events company Agathi & Co.
As their brand grew in the Rochester area, they ended up in talks with the operator and landlord at the German House about how the space could be better utilized for weddings, dinners or other formal events.
“Once I started owning the venues and learning so much about the venue side…I thought, ‘How cool would it be if we decided to do more consulting, and kind of sharing our expertise with other people in the area?” said Georgiou Graham.
“We didn’t ask for extra, but I loved the opportunity to work on this one, because it’s local, it’s so close to both of our venues and we felt like we could both be very hands-on in it,” she said.
The space hosted mostly concerts in recent years, said operator Ed Mott, who owns both ButaPub, a restaurant located on the building’s lower level, and Peerless Events of Rochester Inc., a catering company that will partner with the Grahams to manage the venue.
“We are excited to be partnering up with them,” said Mott. “We think it’s going to take the German House in a more focused direction.”
Peerless Events already provides catering services to many of Arbor venue events, so the partnership made sense. While the space hosts a handful of weddings per year now, said Mott, Georgiou Graham has set a goal to bring between 30 and 40 weddings to the venue this year, starting in March.
“This will put us right up there with the other venues in Rochester that are competing for the business,” said Mott.
Planned improvements include ripping up decades-old carpet and fresh coats of paint, said Georgiou Graham.
“If you walk in there today, there’s paint chipping off the walls and scuffs all over the floors,” she said. “Any of the character that was in there before is going to stay, it’s just going to get repainted and revitalized.”
The renovations are expected to start in the coming weeks. They are not touching the exterior of the building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, and Butapub will continue to operate as normal.
Georgiou Graham has a history of transforming forgotten or unused local spaces into venues that have couples, companies and others clamoring to book an event date.
She renovated a warehouse space above Hart’s Local Grocers to become the now popular Arbor Loft in 2016. Last summer, she and then fiance Graham opened Arbor at the Port along the Genesee River in Charlotte. The space was once used for the fast ferry, which offered service between Toronto and Rochester in the mid-2000s.
It’s ultimately a gut feeling that leads Georgiou Graham to invest in spaces she feels will take off, she said.
“If it was something I’d be interested in getting married in, other people would be interested, and that’s kind of the same feeling I had about German House,” she said.