UPDATE: TV6 speaks to owner of Col Ballroom who holds hope for venue's future
The Col Ballroom will be closing its doors next month. The announcement from the owner on Tuesday left many area residents feeling nostalgic. A feeling the owner, Leigh Macias-Reitz, knows all too well. She bought the ballroom in 2015.
"I went home one day and I said, husband, I'm going to buy the Col Ballroom. He says, 'you're nuts!'" says Reitz, who didn't let that stop her. "My favorite saying to my kids is 'can't never did nothing, but tried it a heck of a lot.'"
With that mentality, Macias-Reitz moved forward with the dream she had visualized with her husband.
"I was just a factory worker," Macias-Reitz said. "I wasn't business minded. I loved the ballroom because this is where I was as a teenager."
The 104-year-old music venue hosted some of the best known musical names, including Duke Ellington, Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King. It was a place where girls wore skirts and guys wore their best dress pants. Everyone rubbing shoulders on the dance floor.
"I kind of wanted to hope to do that so these kids are not out on these streets stealing cars and shooting guns," Macias-Reitz said. "It was a safe haven for me.
Now three years after starting her journey, the cost of keeping the doors open is too much for Macias-Reitz.
"It's a great building," Macias-Reitz said. "It's old, I know that and it's not the River Center, but its got nostalgia. It's just the little things. Putting an installation in, doing some painting. The bathroom is in the basement. It's clean but it's not new."
Today Macias-Reitz set up for one of her final events. A quienceañera.
"I'll work with someone that has $20 or $20,000, I don't get the $20,000 one," laughs Macias-Reitz. "It doesn't matter as long as the little girl walking down these stairs feels like a princess that night."
Macias-Reitz has poured her heart into building on the memories at the Col Ballroom. The operation has largely been held up by family and friends wanting to see her and the Col Ballroom succeed.
"I've made new friends," Macias-Reitz said. "Old friends come out of the woodwork to help me. I'll give them a couple beers, maybe a shot and they're good to go!"
After more than 100 years this landmark has been the home of many memories. After her husband's death in 2015, the Col Ballroom gave Macias-Reitz a new love."
"I had all these people that were so nice and the ballroom that I loved," Macias-Reitz said. "And it all came together and filled my heart. And there was a crack there that will always be there, but it's mended with gorilla tape right now."
Gorilla tape and warm memories, so warm that Macias-Reitz is not convinced on letting go.
"I'm just going to close right now, see what my options are," Macias-Reitz said. "See if some little angel walks through the doors and says, 'Leigh I want to do this and I want to make it musical'. Otherwise I'll just keep it and win the lottery maybe, and keep going."
A Quad City staple is closing its doors after many years of service in Davenport.
On Tuesday, the owner of the Col Ballroom posted to its Facebook page saying they will close the doors on October 29.
The Col Ballroom's owner encourages and invites the community to come out for their final event on Friday, Oct. 26. That event will be SoulFest 2018.