Shell Darubra (left)

Shell Darubra (left)

Local arts, culture hub reopens

Lacey-Lou re-opens its doors after brief hiatus due to unforeseen renovation costs.1

After unexpectedly closing its doors last month, an arts and culture hub on Broad Street has re-opened right on schedule.

Lacey-Lou Tapas Lounge (1320 Broad St.), which has become a hot spot for local musicians and poets to perform, went on a brief hiatus in May due to financial problems from unexpected construction costs with plans to re-open on June 1.

Over the last few weeks, the community has pulled together to help the lounge open again, which it did on Monday night.

“While we were closed we were astonished at how many patrons and musicians came together to help fundraise,” said owner Natasha Grau-Ensminger, noting they raised roughly $4,000.

“Our hiatus also gave us the opportunity to restructure some [aspects] of the lounge, including the kitchen and menu, as well as bring in some additional knowledgeable staff.”

Though they have not yet met their $50,000 fundraising goal, five businesses have offered their space and to help collaborate on fundraising efforts.

“[We] need to be open and running in order for potential [investors] to put anything into the business,” she added.

According to Grau-Ensminger, their financial problems started early when she discovered structural problems that were not disclosed when she originally signed the lease agreement.

For example, walls needed to be rebuilt, part of the structure was rotting, and its lack of crawl space meant they had to tear up the floor to put in plumbing, turning what was supposed to be a two-month renovation into seven months.

“It ate up a lot of our capital for the first two years. So we started with nothing and were already in debt,” she said, adding that they have been running day-to-day with a staff of nine. “We footed the majority of the bill.”

In an effort to generate more money, Lacey-Lou then started an online campaign to raise the roughly $50,000 needed to pay off the debt and keep the business running.

“The loss of Lacey-Lou’s would mean that dozens of artists and musicians will not have a local space to demonstrate their talent and come together to create and inspire. It would mean that hundreds will lose their community hub,” said Grau-Ensminer.

Through the online campaign, they raisd just under $2,000.

Fundraising efforts will continue in the months to come to help pay off the debt.

Lacey-Lou, which is named after Grau-Ensminger’s dog, originally opened in late 2014, and has since grown into a bustling centre for Victoria’s arts and culture community.

Within a few months of opening, they had a wait list of artists to showcase their work, a packed monthly calendar full of poetry sessions and comedy shows, and have had more than 500 musical performances.

Mike Pendray, a musician who got his start at Lacey-Lou, said it quickly became a second home for him.

 

“I never went to bars or anything in the community. Instead of going home, I would come here,” said the Langford resident. “This isn’t my local place to come, but I don’t have a reason to go anywhere else.”

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The District of Saanich is accepting nominations for the 2021 Environmental Awards until June 1 at 4 p.m. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Nominations now open for Saanich’s 21st annual Environmental Awards

Awards recognize individuals and organizations making Saanich more sustainable

Rotary Club of Victoria-Harbourside president Angus Macpherson visited the Wear2Start Society boutique in Victoria to present a cheque to the society’s vice-president Alessandra Ringstad (left) and president Angela Mangiacasale. (Courtesy of Wear2Start)
Rotary club donates over $11,000 to Greater Victoria non-profit for women

Wear2Start Society provides clothing for women in need

Adrienne Rogers (LPN) and Tracy McConnell (RN) on the Victoria Hospice Unit. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Hospice)
Victoria Hospice bereavement counsellors dealing with a tsunami of grief

Last year, Victoria Hospice provided end-of-life care to more than 1,000 people

Paddles sit stacked and ready at a rowing regatta on Elk Lake in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria junior girls rowing team nabs first in national Row to Tokyo challenge

Young Victoria City Rowing Club members row more than 2,250 km

Habitat Acquisition Trust has received provincial funding to help restore Garry oak ecosystems on southern Vancouver Island. (Photo by Jeremy da Silva)
Funding boosts restoration efforts for Vancouver Island’s Garry oak ecosystems

Habitat Acquisition Trust will take on several Garry oak ecosystem restoration projects

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Island Health has confirmed COVID-19 exposures at Ecole des Deux Mondes in Campbell River on May 4 and 5, and at Mill Bay Nature School in Mill Bay on April 28, 29, 30 and May 3. (Metro Creative photo)
Two new COVID-19 school exposures confirmed by Island Health

Health authority contacting anyone exposed at Ecole des Deux Mondes, Mill Bay Nature School

Most Read