New social venue and event space opens late February
By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette
There’s a sense of genuine surprise as one walks into the unassuming building found at 211 W. Collin Street. While the outside bears the familiar architecture of Corsicana’s downtown buildings, the lounge areas housed inside would not be out of place for trendier Las Vegas or Deep Ellum hotspots.
That was the intention of Michelle and Tim Hogan, the husband and wife owners of The Collin Club, a new privately owned event space, design center, and speakeasy open to the public, no membership required.
Tim was born in the Chicago area, while Michelle originated from Los Angeles. The couple originally met in Minneapolis, and after several long-distance dates, decided to get married.
The Hogans eventually moved to the Navarro Mills area, as Michelle was already familiar with Corsicana, having spent summers with her grandmother in Dawson. Growing up, Michelle would often roller skate, shop, and watch movies in Corsicana and visit her cousin, Sam Thompson.
Once again settling back into Texas life, Michelle and Tim decided to purchase the downtown-based building in 2016. that would eventually become The Collin Club.
“It had such a huge, positive effect on me being in Corsicana, Waxahachie, and Dawson,” Michelle said of her summers in the area. “Corsicana has such fond memories for me, and this building would be a fun way to showcase what we do.”
Both Tim and Michelle have enjoyed decades-spanning careers in the corporate entertainment industry, where travel is a necessary part of their work.The couple works with a team based all around the country, hosting events and corporate productions for clients. When not hosting unique event experiences, The Collin Club serves as a central location to store event supplies and livestream meetings with their team.
The renovated venue, its history dating as far back as 1886, has been given an near-complete overhaul. The Hogans kept the legacy feel of the overall building, retaining sections of the original flooring, steel beams, and brickwork, while adding modern amenities to give the venue a more upscale chic vibe. In originally planning how to best use the space, the couple considered several ideas.
“So my joke was, if you saw a little red light on outside, then the bar was open, and you could come inside and drink with me upstairs,” Michelle said. “Well, eventually that turned into ‘let’s make it a speakeasy, and if you get a code, then a lot of people could come upstairs and drink with us’. And then it turned into ‘let’s just make it into an event space so everybody can enjoy it.'”
“If we’re home, we’ll have our own event and have our own party up there.”
With COVID-19 having slowed down the number of available events and venues in the past year, the Hogans used the downtime as an opportunity to fine tune the Collin Street building as a place to continue their work close to home.
The work has not been without its challenges, cleaning out a building that had been long abandoned for years, and in need of numerous updates to meet their vision.
“We look back and we laugh certainly, but it was a pain in the behind.” Tim said. “It was absolutely a pain. But of course, nothing comes without sacrifice. We kept the money tight, and the focus was to make sure we kept this thing going and stay out of debt, and it served us well.”
“We eventually got this looking nice.”
The Hogan’s service doesn’t end with just a good-looking building. As an event center, the couple is looking to provide events where even the client can relax as they take care of all the details.
“You can come to a party where you put your feet up,” Michelle said. “Let us take care of you.”
The work paid off in terms of presenting a one of a kind event space for Corsicana. The downstairs is lined with Carnegie steel beams and a huge wooden door from a Tibetan garden. A back-area kitchen provides a full range of cooking amenities to provide any type of food option, from hors d’oeuvres to full catering.
Going upstairs, guests are greeted to a full lounge area, with a large-sized bar, live music, and hints of Art Deco. A door leading outside features an outdoor patio overlooking downtown Corsicana, in in this interview’s instance, the Hogans’ dog snoozing lazily in the sunshine. The Hogans want the experience to be more than simply slugging back drinks to be considered a “fun evening.”
“I would much rather you and I sit down, drink, and shoot the bull over a nice cocktail, and that cocktail can last an hour,” Tim said. “We already talked about the event space being something people can rent out, but, you know, why don’t we provide the community a once a month, twice a month, whatever our schedule and energy allows and say ‘Why don’t we host something and make it fun?'”
While providing a more upscale lounge setting for adults is one of the couple’s goals, the Hogans want to contribute events for all ages to make the community more enjoyable, from rooftop yoga and baby showers, specialty events with prizes and surprises, to more family oriented activities like carnivals or Mario Kart tournaments.
“We’re not the type of couple that sits around,” Tim said. “We need to do stuff.”
“We really like sharing what we do,” Michelle added. “And people really enjoy going to a party that is just a little different and has a little different twist to it.”
A venue tour is scheduled 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 26 where visitors can visit the new event space and meet the owners. On Saturday, Feb. 27, there will be a themed costume event by VIP invite.
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