SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Belinda Shumway of Seasons Catering says it’s been her longtime dream to own an industrial-chic wedding venue. The idea came together through a chance meeting with a groom, Ben Romer.
“On the very first meeting, we got through the menu and went through all the details of what they provide, and then she’s like, hey I’ve got something for you. She said, you’re in real estate right?” Romer recalls to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.
“And I told him my crazy idea, and he said to me, I’ve got the building, the right building, for you,” Shumway continues.
Romer and his bosses at Redburn Development introduced Seasons to what is now The Edison in downtown Schenectady. The building has a lot of history having previously been a hardware store, The Gazette’s printing press, then the Edison Tech Center before sitting vacant for several years.
“When we pitched the idea of the project, it was a home run. They wanted to see this place change,” Romer says.
But right as it looked like a match made in heaven, the pandemic threatened both the construction project and the future of weddings in the Capital Region.
“We went from having 169 weddings and events planned in 2020, to we ended up with six,” Shumway says. “We were very stressed out, because the phones weren’t ringing. People all they wanted were refunds or cancellations or postponements, and we didn’t know what the restrictions were going to be.”
She says she was determined to turn a global crisis into a blessing in disguise.
“We ended up pushing people that were postponing to see this venue, with hardhats on under massive construction, and I’m very lucky they ended up seeing my vision,” she says happily.
So that solved all the 2020 couples competing for new dates at existing venues in 2021, and Shumway says she was able to keep some staff on using PPP assistance. Seasons is still affected by the national worker shortage, so until new staff can be found, it’s a balancing act to keep from stretching too thin.
“I will not book five or six weddings in one day. We book three weddings on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and we are closing out the date,” Shumway says.
She also can’t wait to give back to other wedding industry professionals who may not have made it as easily through the pandemic.
“Limo companies, my good friends that are DJs, all they do is this full-time as well, so they couldn’t collect PPP money,” she says.
Romer says although he and his bride, Melanie, were able to have an intimate ceremony in their backyard, neither wanted to give up the idea of their dream wedding.
“I come from a large family with four sisters, three of which are married, so I’ve seen that as a young kid watching how fun the events are and been to a bunch of weddings as well. So having that for ourselves too, we want that big party with everyone,” he says.
He adds he’s also glad to support other couples thanks to this passion project.
“It’s always great to see it through to the end and you feel that sense of accomplishment, whether it’s, you know, work or your wedding,” he says.
The Edison is also available for corporate events, graduations, baby showers, and many other gatherings in need of diverse space options. Shumway says there will be a tasting event Sunday at 2 p.m. to showcase Seasons Catering services and all future brides and grooms are welcome.