Effingham Event Center Manager Steve Martin will officially hand over the reins to one with another familiar face at facility, Mark Spour, on Monday.

The long-time manager, Martin, 64, said he’s ready for the next chapter in his life and will retire this weekend after 18 years of handling matters for the meeting and party facility.

While the hours varied from week to week, the full time job has kept Martin busy.

As the facility’s manager he has been responsible for overseeing the bookings, the grounds, upkeep of the building and to manage the bars within the facility. He’s been a member of the Effingham Knights Council 665 since 1977, which is based out of the Effingham Event Center.

Martin also said that he continues to educate people that the Event Center is open to the public.

“That’s something we continue to strive for and push for,” said Martin. “We are still trying to lose that club status, because it was that for so long. We want people to recognize this as the Effingham Event Center.”

It had originally served as the Knights of Columbus Hall, but even 20 years before the name change to Event Center, it became a public entity, Martin said.

Martin said faced challenges when he managed the facility during a time that the economy was tough. He called that recession era, 2007-2008, one of his most trying times as manager.

“Things dried out then and we had to tighten the belt, but still managed to do some remodeling during those times and keep things going,” said Martin.

Martin said he really has nothing etched in stone for his retirement. He and his wife, Lori, of 36 years, have two grown children, Stephanie Rauch of Effingham and Lewis Martin of Teutopolis.

“I think the upkeep of the facility and making sure that we are providing a very nice, upscale place for wedding receptions is what I’m most proud about,” said Martin.

He said when he stepped up to the plate he did so believing this was a unique opportunity and something important that both the building and the business would bring to the Effingham community.

The manager said since the March 23 fire at the Teutopolis Banquet Hall the makeup of the bookings have changed and Effingham Events Center. The Effingham location is now enjoying more wedding receptions, but less smaller meetings, since the unfortunate incident that destroyed the Teutopolis venue. There are plans to rebuild that facility.

Over the years, the building has undergone a few changes in recent, including the addition of some space for the Knights of Columbus to meet, constructed two years ago; plus the addition of the outdoor patio and bar, built about five years ago; and the construction of the large canopy on the east side of the building, completed about 10 years ago.

Today, wedding receptions are booked out from one to two years in advance of the date.

“The Effingham Event Center hosts bands about every Friday night, weather permitting, starting about May and ending in September,” said Martin. “The patio has a stage and an outside bar. It is open to the public.”

If weather doesn’t allow for outside entertainment, the band would be set up inside, he added.

The plan is to continue that practice under the leadership of Spour, 52, of Sigel, will take over following a retirement celebration for Martin on Sunday. An event is planned in the lounge for Martin from 2-6 p.m. Sunday for friends and co-workers.

Spour has been a part-time bartender at the hall for 21 years. He has also worked as a brick mason up until being appointed to this manager’s position two months ago.

There is a corporate board that made the hiring decision to bring Spour on fulltime as the new manager.

Spour just wants to keep the plates spinning and doesn’t have any plans to make any major changes at the Event Center. He’s expecting the other bartenders will fill in Spour’s shifts when he moves to building manager.

Dawn Schabbing can be reached at dawn.schabbing@effinghamdailynews.com or 217-347-7151, ext 138.


Dawn Schabbing is a senior reporter at the Effingham Daily News, covering Effingham City Hall, Unit 40, and special projects. A graduate of Lake Land College and Eastern Illinois University with degrees in journalism, she lives in Neoga.

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