AriensCo is expanding the concept of what hospitality means at its headquarters in Brillion, Wisconsin. A completely new division of the company — AriensCo Hospitality — is offering visitors a chance to spend time at some newly created spaces, both indoor and outdoor, that truly reflect the natural beauty of the state, its friendly people and vast food culture.
Launched last summer, Stone Prairie is a remarkable open-air venue that can host a variety of events, such as weddings or corporate parties. It features two fully heated pavilions, prominent stone fireplaces, chandeliers, a greenhouse brought in from England, guest facilities and more. Stone Prairie’s amenities eliminate the stress of planning outdoor events, as the pavilions are aided by temporary wall structures and radiant heat that will make sure guests are comfortable, even when it’s cold outside.
Near Stone Prairie is Round Lake Farms, a recently unveiled all-seasons event venue that has been meticulously designed for weddings, corporate events and other special occasions. It resides next to 150 acres of native ecosystem that AriensCo has reestablished on its grounds, enabling guests to see the plants and animals that have inhabited the region for millennia.
Round Lake Farms features a spacious main hall, a large gathering room, timber frame construction, high ceilings and a stone fireplace. The lower level has a bar and tasting room. There is a bridal suite, a large balcony overlooking a lake that is spacious enough to have its own event, and a lower-level patio that opens up to the lake. An old grain silo was restored to house the venue’s wine cellar. It also has an executive meeting room for corporate events.
These two sites, combined with the recently redesigned and relaunched AriensCo Museum, form the three pillars of AriensCo Hospitality, a true community redevelopment project for Brillion, the birthplace of AriensCo.
“We believe that Stone Prairie and Round Lake Farms offer something unique and that they are worldclass destinations,” said Steve Servais, executive vice president, administration at AriensCo. “While they may be rustic and true to the spirit of Wisconsin’s past, they feature all the modern comforts you’d expect in 2021.”
Attention to detail can be seen in all of the structures at Stone Prairie and Round Lake Farms. The building materials are top of the line, with tasteful finishes such as brick fireplaces and spacious balconies that overlook the natural landscape. Round Lake Farms hosted its first wedding in June, while events have been held at Stone Prairie since last fall.
A wedding held in February during a polar vortex had organizers apprehensive, but in the end bride, groom and guests were quite pleased, Servais said, proving that the facilities can truly hold events any time of the year.
“The landscape was covered in snow, and the event was quite successful. It was beautiful and one-of-a-kind,” he said.
As the summer season rolls in and gathering restrictions are eased in most of the country, bookings have accelerated. The venue is already looking at showings for 2023, as most weekends in 2021 and 2022 have been taken.
“The public is starting to see us as a destination wedding location,” Servais said. “We’ve had people looking to book events from all over the state, and we even found ourselves competing against similar facilities in Minnesota, California and Missouri.”
As the venues start to get fully utilized, AriensCo Hospitality will continue to develop concepts on how to take advantage of its full 150 acres of land. For example, in the winter, events could include sledding, pond hockey or Nordic ski trails. In the summer, visitors could enjoy duck hunting at the lake and a host of wellness activities.
“These are events sites, but we’re really looking at the whole scope because the properties have so much potential,” Servais said. “We have the venues and a lake, wooded area and rolling hills. All of this really gives us so many options, and our team keeps having great ideas about how to utilize the spaces.”
Brillion sits in Calumet County, a traditionally rural Wisconsin county where there were once more cows than residents. More recently, and partially due to the pandemic, there has been a renewed interest in tranquil, less densely populated spaces, and AriensCo Hospitality is leaning into the gracious, rural charm of the area to draw visitors and new residents.
Round Lake Farms ultimately aims to locally source the food served at its events and even grow some of it right on the property, including livestock. That would provide guests with a truly northeastern Wisconsin experience.
“Calumet County also now has a large population of goats and some producers of goat milk cheeses. So, this, along with local fruits and vegetables, would go into our menu planning. We’re laying the groundwork to make it happen, and it’s quite exciting. The farm-to-table concept is really important to us because we’re offering that unique experience, and we’re also supporting local farmers, vegetable growers and cheesemakers,” Servais explained.
In the coming months, AriensCo will be focused on growing its hospitality business, and an important aspect of that effort is to grow the community around it.
“This is a business venture, yes, but we’re growing it along with Brillion,” Servais said. “We talk about our facilities in the context of giving people reasons to visit Brillion, and hopefully they find reasons to stay. We want to create opportunities and build amenities for the Brillion community that wouldn’t be here otherwise. It should be a win for both AriensCo and our town.”
• Two heated pavilions
• Stone fireplaces
• Radiant heat
• Guest facilities
• Greenhouse with large patio area
• Outdoor fireplaces
• Six acres of open lawn
• Handicap accessible
• Flexible capacity
Round Lake Farms
• Spacious main hall
• Large gathering room
• Timber frame construction
• High ceilings
• Stone fireplace
• Full-service bar
• Wine tasting room and cellar
• Bridal suite
• Balconies and lake views
• Large pier to the lake
Stone Prairie has already played host to many weddings.