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Minnesota wedding venues step up to help after Circle B's sudden closure

After Circle B’s sudden closure, other wedding venues offer help
After Circle B’s sudden closure, other wedding venues offer help 01:54

ISANTI, Minn. — The surprise closure of an Isanti County wedding venue has left more than a dozen engaged couples scrambling.

"We have nowhere to go and not getting our money back," said a teary-eyed Katelyn Stalboerger in a TikTok video. 

She was supposed to get married next month at Circle B, a barn wedding venue that closed suddenly. Clients got an email from ownership Sunday night, leaving them confused, anxious, and out of money.

"We're trying to be as positive as possible," said Clarissa Zemke. 

Zemke works for Family Pathways, a nonprofit that offers programs including food shelves and domestic violence prevention. It picked Circle B for its annual fundraiser, Barn Bash.

Circle B wedding venue WCCO

"Usually we hope to net around $60,000 from this event," she said, with the money raised funding their programs.

Now, Family Pathways is down $3,000 that they paid Circle B. The venue cut off all communication with clients, even deleting its social media pages. Zemke said they're moving forward with their fundraiser on the same date, they just need a new venue.

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"We are definitely open to anyone who wants to reach out, help us keep this event on track we would be really grateful," said Zemke.

Several venues across Minnesota want to help, posting on Facebook that they're ready to either donate their space or negotiate lower prices. Stonewall Farms in Willmar is "willing to offer weddings with a freewill donation" for couples impacted by the closure. The Wexford at Emerald Greens in Hastings is offering up to 75% off the price. Genesis Ranch in Rosemount mentioned major discounts in its recent Facebook post. Rockwoods MN in Otsego posted on Facebook a spreadsheet of their availability in the coming weeks to accommodate those affected.

"I knew that those couples would need to know availability right then and there," said Katie Harstad, general manager at Rockwoods. "We're really willing to work with them… To make sure that we can really pull this together, something that is much more affordable for them."

Harstad thought back to when the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020. Any client that needed to cancel their wedding due to the pandemic restrictions got a full refund, she said. Hearing Circle B isn't offering refunds shocked her. 

"I could not imagine doing that to someone and leaving them stranded. I've planned probably thousands of events and every single one matters," said Harstad.

The Circle B venue is listed for sale.

The owners run another barn event space in Cottage Grove called the Historic John Furber Farm. It's also for sale while continuing to accept bookings.

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