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.”
2017 N. Frazier St., Ste. D2, Conroe
Hours: Mon.-Thur. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., closed Sat.-Sun.