Popular banquet hall shut its doors without warning

CREATED Jul. 10, 2013

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  • Video by wtmj.com

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FRANKLIN - Root River Center in Franklin mysteriously closed Tuesday, and it has left many in limbo, looking for answers.

"Beyond frustrating. No bride should really ever have to deal with this. It's pretty upsetting," said Jennifer Smukowski.

She was supposed to have her wedding reception at Root River Center in less than five weeks.  250 invites were sent out two weeks ago.

Now she's scrambling to find a reception venue last minute after hearing through the grapevine the doors to hers are locked up.

No one from the business bothered to call her or others with reservations for parties and summer sports leagues.

A sign posted on the front doors to the banquet hall reads: "Root River Center temporarily closed at this time. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused."

Smukowski found out through a posting on the Root River Center Facebook page.

She's already paid hundreds of dollars as a deposit.

"I cried a little, and then I kind of rallied my troops and we're starting to research and panic a little bit about finding a place to host our 250+ guests in less than five weeks."

Root River was locked up and empty when TODAY'S TMJ4 stopped by twice.

A manager who has been with the business for eight years didn't want to be identified but said the closure blind-sided all employees. They were called Tuesday and told to turn in their keys.

Tax records show St. Nikola Church in Cudahy owns the Root River Center.

No one answered when we stopped by the church and it's rectory.  Calls also went unanswered.

A family member connected to the church said they're selling Root River and that the church can't handle it financially anymore.

Now Jennifer Smukowski has her own finances to worry about because of the closure.

She and her fiancé are expecting to fork out an additional $5,000 to find a reception venue on such short notice. They had stuck to a tight budget to avoid going into debt for their wedding.

"At a bare minimum, I want my security deposit back and I would like to recoup some of the extra money that I'm spending - that I'm being forced to spend renting a venue at the last minute."