West Michigan summers at the lake shore

South Haven Beach

The Idea

Having grown up in West Michigan and spending summers at the lake shore. Sister and brother team, Nicole and James Slott, knew that they wanted to grow their business here at home. Thus, was the beginning of Ilios Investments, a Real Estate Investment firm. Nicole runs a successful consulting business and coaches volleyball, James runs two car washes and a laundromat as well as coaches lacrosse. Together they formed Ilios Investments which currently owns several commercial buildings, a blueberry farm and the property where the Black River Barn is being built.

“The Black River Barn was an idea that evolved from a simple request for a wedding space from one of our friends. Weddings are some of the most memorable moments in a couples lives and we loved the idea of creating a space that people would love just as much as we do!” said Nicole. Discussions of a shortage of medium to large venues to hold weddings, corporate meetings and other functions led them to finalize the decision to build. After an exhaustive search, South Haven was determined to be the ideal spot to locate the venue. “South Haven did not have a facility that could accommodate larger events and when we spoke with the city there was an overwhelmingly positive response to our build request.” said James. Thus the property was acquired, the necessary permits were approved, and the process began.

The mission of the Black River Barn is to provide a unique Wedding/Meeting experience that will provide the participants with a lasting memory of their special event. Let us help you set the stage to create your perfect memory to last a lifetime!

Becomes Reality

SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (May 14, 2019) – An honorary bride and groom joined developers and South Haven community leaders to break ground Tuesday, May 14 at the site of Black River Barn, an 11,000 square foot state-of-the-art wedding venue and corporate event space. The first of its kind in South Haven, this elegant yet rustic barn-style venue will have capacity for up to 400 guests.

Features include a gracious 5,400 square foot main hall for dining and dancing and vaulted ceilings with exposed beams and chandeliers. There will be space for indoor and outdoor ceremonies and private bride and groom suites, plus a well-appointed caterer’s kitchen with custom catering opportunities.

Black River Barn’s covered and open air patios will include fire pits overlooking a picturesque 10-acre vista. The building will feature a fully temperature-controlled environment and state-of-the-art audio/visual system. Located at the northeast corner of 73rd Street and 8th Avenue with easy access from I-196, the venue is just minutes from Lake Michigan beaches and downtown South Haven.

“We fondly remember spending summers on Lake Michigan and love South Haven for its charm and beautiful landscape,” said James Slott, developer and co-owner of Black River Barn with his sister, Nicole Slott. “In our research and planning, we identified a lack of locations in this area that can accommodate larger groups, and many existing wedding venues in the region are booked one to two years in advance. We anticipate an immediate demand for Black River Barn and believe it aligns nicely with South Haven City Council’s plans for economic development.”

South Haven Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Kathy Wagaman says the large corporate event space fills a void. “Black River Barn will provide our local agriculture partners, manufacturers, and businesses an ideal place to hold regional or national seminars and meetings.” She added, “Our community has long been a draw for visitors with its picturesque shoreline and rich history. We are pleased to welcome this venue and believe it will be a perfect complement, helping to drive tourism dollars to South Haven.”

Construction is expected to be complete in November, in time for holiday parties and corporate events and will be available for weddings by May 2020. 

New Lakeshore Wedding Venue Ground Breaking
New Lakeshore Wedding Venue Ground Breaking