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Lerma's Event Center is open for business — and dancing

“This place, this is a long-time dream for me.”

Lerma's Event Center opened its doors for the first time Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022.
Lerma's Event Center opened its doors for the first time Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022.
Tim Middagh/The Globe
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WORTHINGTON — Inside what used to be Worthington’s Sports Center, the floors have been inlaid with a new, glossy finish and the office walls have been done away with to make room for a bar. Towards the back of the large, open building located at 703 Oxford Street, a stage has been constructed, complete with a railing made of old-fashioned wheels, to keep with the building’s Western theme.

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The space, dubbed Lerma’s Event Center, is just what owner Lizbeth Lerma hoped it would be.

“This place, this is a long-time dream for me,” Lerma said, standing by the bar. “I like my hobbies. I like to dance and I always had the opportunity to go to different cities or different towns for an event.”

It’s an experience she wanted to bring to Worthington by creating a space for the community to gather, listen to music, and just enjoy themselves.

A small business owner who came to Worthington around 30 years ago, Lerma has operated Lerma’s Western Wear and Boutique in downtown Worthington for years. When the opportunity came up to take on a new business venture, she decided it was time to make her dream a reality.

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“It took a lot of work, a lot of money and time,” she noted on the topic of getting the former sports center ready to hold dances and concerts. The building was outfitted with a kitchen and bar, with ample help from family and friends.

110422 N DG Lerma Event Center S2.jpg
Lerma Event Center
Tim Middagh/The Globe

Between Lerma, her husband, and their three kids, there were a lot of long hours spent at the Oxford Street building after Lerma purchased the space in 2019.

It became a sort of pet project for Lerma during the first few months of the pandemic, though there were plenty of challenges in getting materials and appliances delivered.

“The wait just made us appreciate everything more,” she added, showing off the newly refurbished bathrooms. In the back storage area, old whiskey barrels that have been refurbished are waiting to be brought out to the front, where they’ll serve as tables. Lerma secured them from a friend down south and brought them back to Minnesota in a trailer.

While the Lerma Event Center opened its doors last weekend with a musical act, Lerma stated she’s had a lot of interest in people booking weddings and quinceañeras — those looking to reserve the space or ask questions about an event can contact Lizbeth at (507) 329-7198 —and plenty of plans for future band or dance nights.

“It’s not just a place for one type of people,” Lerma said. “It’s for everyone and I want there to be something for every person here.”

Lerma noted that the bar will be open for business, but down the line, she’d like to do more with the kitchen at the event center and have regular food service. For now, though, she just hopes people will come out to dance and have fun.

“Where I am right now is not easy, but it’s not bad, to have a dream, to have something in mind and work hard to get it.”

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Emma McNamee joined The Globe team in October 2021 as a reporter covering Crime & Courts, Politics, and the City beats. Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., McNamee left her hometown to attend school in Chicago at Columbia College. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism, with a concentration in News & Feature Writing and a minor in Creative Writing.
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