The incredible Art Deco building was built in 1930 as the Sears and Roebuck mail order facility, and served the community until the early 1970’s. Years later, the stately structure sat empty and neglected. It was begging for a transformation.
Mark Shapley and his partner, Hal Parker, purchased the impressive building in 2008. They completely renovated the top two floors, creating handsome condos and apartments called The Sears Quarters. After a tenant vacated the first floor, Mark was ready to create something completely different.
He says, “I spoke with so many people in Vicksburg who said we needed a reception hall. People needed an option where they could hold an event and bring in their own caterer, florist, and other vendors.” They took the idea and ran with it.
Mark and Hal renovated the first floor, carefully restoring it to its original splendor. They incorporated many of the old materials from the original Sears and Roebuck mail center, including flooring and tiles. The original grand staircase, which earned the building a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, still stands as a gorgeous focal point. Mark says with awe, “It is really cool how it all turned out. It has been a great thing and we are excited, because downtown Vicksburg is truly coming to life.”
Mark and Hal also relied on the expertise of Wendy Putt, owner of Fresh Cut Catering and Floral, to ensure their reception hall would become a dream venue. Mark says, “Wendy has an unbridled enthusiasm for everything! She was extremely helpful on what we needed to do. Why argue with someone who has been extremely successful?” They equipped the building with everything Wendy recommended, including a prep kitchen with cabinets, dishwashers and shelving, and tables and chairs for seating up to 200 guests. Mark adds, “We also have a courtyard space outside for frying and grilling.”
As renovations came to a close, Wendy asked Mark, “What are you going to call your venue? I think it should be named ‘The Bluff.’” Mark laughs, “We loved it and said, ‘The Bluff it is!’ Everything fell into place after that. The name perfectly fits the building and the Art Deco look.”
If you are looking for a special venue to hold the event of a lifetime, we highly recommend The Bluff of Vicksburg. Mark says, “We offer flexibility. You have the opportunity to create the wedding or event you have always wanted! We welcome all caterers. We just want people to come in, have a wonderful time, and enjoy their event with the people they love.”
You can learn more about The Bluff of Vicksburg on their website here!
A special thank you to Chao Photography for capturing the lovely photos of Mark and his wife, Mary, at The Bluff.
Also, thank you to Fresh Cut Catering & Floral, as well as Friends Stationary of Vicksburg, for providing the beautiful pieces for our photo shoot.