On Wednesday afternoon in downtown Logan, Mark Lunt sanded down walls and tore up floor tiles at The Cache Venue.
The work is labor-intensive, but when it is complete, Lunt hopes the place that used to be Gia’s Restaurant will serve as a multi-purpose event center that includes a full-service kitchen (serving brunch on Sundays, too) and a tap room.
“Come back and see it,” Lunt said in an interview, when asked when he’d tell customers. “You’re not going to believe it.”
Cache Venue is currently closed until New Year’s Eve, when a celebration to ring in 2019 is planned. A grand opening with changes Lunt and his team are making to the business is scheduled for March 1.
Cache Venue, located at 119 S. Main Street, is ideal for a host of events, including wedding receptions, company parties and fundraisers. It includes spacious seating (tables, chairs and boots) and a kitchen; as well as a stage with a state-of-the-art sound system.
The latter element was phase one of what Lunt said is a three-phase plan to overhaul Cache Venue. Now, he’s on phase two — changing the menu to reflect bar/pub fare and be open for brunch.
“When we started, all I had to do were Chicago dogs and Mac and Cheese,” Lunt said. “All I had to do was boil water. … Now, our menu is really close to being done and we have a full-line. (We’ve spent) a ton of time on that.”
As for brunch, Lunt said he does not think it will be that hard to attract customers.
“A lot of times, for a Sunday brunch, it’s so busy and you’re just getting herded through,” he said. “Our vision is to have … a more laid back, casual, hang-out. ‘If you don’t rush Sunday, The Cache is where it’s at’ is kind of our tagline.”
In a room at Cache Venue that has yet to be utilized, Lunt wants it to be a place that serves drinks.
“I just think vibrant downtowns tend to have live music and food and drink options,” he said.
Phase three of Lunt’s plan is to implement equity-based crowdfunding for customers. They could by shares of the company on a website and in return receive perks from The Cache Venue.
“It’s a cocktail investment,” he said. “Now body’s buying this to pay for their kid’s college.”
Lunt said his decision to eventually implement crowdsourcing comes from his background in helping Cache Valley with economic development, serving on a board with the Downtown Alliance.
“A lot of the community doesn’t feel invested in downtown,” Lunt said. But with crowdsourcing, “People can literally and figuratively be invested.”
While providing perks for customers, Cache Venue will be able to build a tap room, put in another bathroom and get new equipment in the kitchen, he said.
Lunt, who also owns Island Market in Logan, started out renting Cache Venue with his wife, Janice; now they own it. Before that, he was working with Downtown Alliance.
“Downtown needs a kick in the pants; it needs some nightlife,” Lunt said. “I agreed to do it (Downtown Alliance economic development) and got more involved and realized there’s no way to talk someone else in doing it … To bring nightlife downtown, it kind of has to be me.”
With Cache Venue, Lunt’s initial inclination was that it could be a place to help nonprofits raise money.
“So they’re not running around with their heads cut off,” he said. “We’re doing 90 percent of the work.”
Nonprofits are still a huge component of Cache Venue’s business, according to Lunt, but it’s a place that can be of service to so many more people and entities around down.
“We really feel like we can make a big difference,” he said.
Cache Venue’s New Year’s Eve celebration begins at 8 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 31. The cost for admission is $25. Appetizers and champagne will be served.