BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – For about three hours Sunday, the Kingsley Inn became more than just a historical, boutique hotel overlooking the majestic Mississippi River.
As if that isn’t enough.
The 109-year-old building was home to about 23 vendors as part of the Kingsley Inn Bridal Showcase held at the hotel in Fort Madison.
“We wanted to do a different format. Not just herd you into the bridal show. This hotel is an experience,” said Chi Eastin, Kingsley Inn Manager.
Eastin was on the third floor of the hotel Sunday afternoon as families and couples migrated from floor to floor, room to room, and vendor to vendor hearing from local businesses engaged in making any type of event a special one.
The hotel had a grand opening in February and has remodeled and “tweeked” rooms and decor.
“I’ve rearranged things to make it more timely. We got rid of some old furniture. We didn’t have to do a whole lot, but we did some upgrades to the place. I repurposed things to make it more functional, but it has good bones.,” Eastin said.
Eastin brought in vendors to cover every aspect of planning an event from food, to printing, rentals, clothing and facilities. More than 20 companies spread out in the three floor hotel.
Julie Hellman, of Complete Rentals on Fort Madison’s west side, was set up on the third floor, which is a guest apartment with an grand room large enough to hold a small wedding. She said attendance was good.
“We’ve had a lot of people through today and I’ve been able to talk with people about what we offer. People just see cranes and think we’re just construction, but we have a full line of event supplies,” Hellman said.
The hotel is also celebrating the 30th year being open in Fort Madison. She said there may be a celebration in the works for the summer.
Dodd Printing & Stationery set up on the first floor and turned a wedding dress into a display of printed wedding invitations.
I wanted quality vendors and wanted to give them as much room as possible,” Eastin said. “I actually had to turn a few vendors away.
Other vendors included Kempker’s True Value, Small Grand Things, Fat Jimmy’s Smokehouse and Catering, Swoon Event Rental, Jen and Kenra’s, C and C Memories, Hy-vee, GG Makeup Artistry, Pure Romance by Sarah Vermazen, Dan Dahlstra Photography, Swed & Co. Coffee, Sugar Lumps, River Rocks Bar & Grill, Treblefly Sounds, The Colony Shop and Bridal Loft, Wilson Bros, BBQ & Catering, and Cambre House and Farm.