Moonlight Venue: Abandoned movie theater turned event palace shines on Frazier Street

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Brenda Barbedillo and Monica Herrera were not acquainted when a mutual friend introduced them to each other—and to the idea of starting an event venue business in Conroe.

The mutual friend has since moved to North Carolina, but Barbedillo and Herrera decided to pursue the business idea and became the co-owners of Moonlight Venue, which has been open since November 2017 in Conroe’s Woodcreek Shopping Center.

When they started, the venue was an old 1960s movie theater that had been abandoned for 18 years.

“Everything was old, and even the furniture was from a long time ago; it was all dusty,” Barbedillo said. “But when I went to the main hall … it has very high ceilings, and that’s when I thought it was a good place to start a venue.”

Leveling the seating and renovating the interior took a full year before the team was able to open up the venue, with the interior designed by both women and Barbedillo’s husband acting as the interior architect.

Barbedillo said the biggest challenge so far was not the huge undertaking of a renovation but getting the word out that the place is now open after it sat abandoned for so long.

“Our customers are mainly weddings, quinceañeras, sweet 16s and corporate events,” Herrera said.

She said events held there so far also include high school reunions—a casino-themed 40th for Conroe High School—anniversaries, award ceremonies, church banquets, ROTC dances and college student events.

The venue can host up to 350 guests, and the team works with vendors—hyperlocal and from Houston—to make plans with florists, bakers, musicians, bartenders, photographers, decorators and tech support.

Some customers choose to use their own vendors, but Barbedillo and Herrera said events tend to run more smoothly when they take care of it all.

“I’m happy, and I feel very motivated because all the events and parties have been very, very good,” Barbedillo said. “It gives you a good feeling to know you’re putting in every effort of yourself, but it has paid off, and the people are happy.”

Moonlight Venue
2017 N. Frazier St., Ste. D2, Conroe
936-337-0613
www.moonlightvenue.com
Hours: Mon.-Thur. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., closed Sat.-Sun.

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Jules Rogers
Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Jules Rogers has been covering community journalism and urban trade news since 2014. She moved to Houston in June 2018 to become an editor with Community Impact Newspaper after four years of reporting for various newspapers affiliated with the Portland Tribune in Oregon, including two years at the Portland Business Tribune. Before that, Jules spent time reporting for the Grants Pass Daily Courier in Southern Oregon. Her favorite beats to cover are business, economic development and urban planning.
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