Shauna Altes has achieved her dream to create a local wedding barn venue.
For Ormond Beach resident Shauna Altes, there is a lot to love about weddings.
Dancing, young love, the uniting of two families — all things she hopes to see at the Grand Ol' Barn, originally a citrus packing facility and the first built in New Smyrna Beach in 1914. Altes — who has 15 years of experience in the wedding industry, including eight years of owning her own floral company — first came on board the renovation about 10 months ago after meeting with the barn owners, the McHenrys.
They had expressed a desire to turn the barn into a ballroom. She swiftly took over the barn's renovations and a $2.5 million project later, the Grand Ol' Barn, located at 721 Palmetto Street, has over 100 weddings already booked starting late June.
“It’s going to be surreal watching the families dancing and laughing and just loving their time in here," Altes said. "This barn, when you turn down the lights and the music is going and the lights are twinkling, it’s just pure magic.”
Before coming onto the Grand Ol' Barn project, Altes' own proposal to build a wedding barn off State Road 40 near Ormond Beach was rejected in August 2020 by the Volusia County Council after opposition from residents in the nearby Rima Ridge community. The meeting was brutal, Altes recalled.
Her experience in the city of New Smyrna Beach has been "night and day," she said. The Grand Ol' Barn was supposed to open in May, but due to COVID-19, the date had to be pushed back.
Recently, Altes brought another Ormond Beach resident into the business. Caley Hayes is on board as the lead events manager, having met Altes through a friend of a friend. Hayes, who has experience in the floral and event industries, as well as historical restoration due to her involvement with the Ormond Garage, said she hasn't seen another wedding barn that compares.
Hayes has a personal tie to the building now too, as classic car and car parts owned by her late grandfather, Bud Pike are being used for decor in the groomsmen suite. Pike died at age 79 in 2018, and he was the founder of the Volusia Region Antique Automobile Club of America. The Grand Ol' Barn is yet another place that will carry her grandfather's memory.
“It literally gives me goosebumps because you feel how nostalgic this place is," Hayes said.
Because of its history, the barn is unique in the way it was built. The builders back then wanted a barn with a big open space to allow farmers an easier time packing fruit before shipping it off on the nearby railroad or on the river. That resulted in a truss system made up of large cypress crossbeams holding up the entirety of the second floor. During the renovation of the barn, the roof to the second floor was exposed, creating a cathedral-like effect.
“The engineers, inadvertently, created a giant art installation upstairs, basically,” Altes said.
She wanted to create a designated wedding barn venue, one that made it easy for vendors to access and accommodated a long list of bridal needs. The barn has made that dream a reality.
“[The barn] feels like it has a life of its own, like it was just wanting to be brought back to life," Altes said.
Visit grandolbarn.com for more information.
This story was updated at 1:17 p.m. to correct the dollar value of the barn's renovation.