About GRH100 plus years in the making
The building that Grand River Hall is located in was built in the late 1800s. The white space that is known for hosting ceremonies was an addition in the 1950s. Rawleigh was a manufacturer of home goods such as shampoo, salves, soaps, and spices. The Rawleigh business closed in the late 80s, and has been abandoned since then. In 2015 our father, Pete Alber, purchased the building from the City of Freeport. There was no electricity or plumbing in the building, graffiti on the walls, old files and paperwork, and a lot of garbage and gross stuff! He began renovations on the first floor for his manufacturing business, Proto-Cutter. Since then, he has slowly renovated other spaces, and now has 8 tenants, including Grand River Hall.
Grand River Hall started as just an empty room that we would host family gatherings or socials with friends. It soon started to turn into more. We always envisioned a venue space, but never made the jump. When the ClockTower in Rockford had its liquidating auction, we decided to pull the trigger. So on a whim, with no business plan or experience, we bought 300 chairs and some commercial appliances. Soon after, Grand River Hall was born. We bought tables from Craigslist, watched restaurant auctions like it was a job, and learned the hard way how many different types of chair covers there were and which ones would actually work for us! We knew with our strong work ethic and faith, we weren’t going to fail. Failure was, and isn’t an option for us! Our motto soon became “faith it ‘til you make it”. Our first official event was in October 2017.
Since then we have grown and learned so much. We look forward to hosting our 30+ weddings, numerous fundraising events and corporate Christmas parties each year
Hey everybody! I’m Holly and I’m the older half of Grand River Hall. Shelly and I have always been extremely close. We opened a business together, lived together for a little bit, and we even had our sons 10 days apart….we didn’t plan that one though!
I work as a real estate law clerk for a firm in downtown Chicago. I work from home 4 days a week and one day a week I travel to the city for work. This allows me the flexibility I need to run Grand River Hall. I am the mom to a smart, spunky and very stubborn little boy, Jackson. He truly makes life so much more fun.
In my spare time (which there is not a lot of) I like to cook, workout and do 5k, 10k or half marathons. (Shelly and I are running our first in April of 2020!) When it gets nice out, Jackson and I like to be outside as much as possible and try to spend as much time as we can at my parent’s pool.
I absolutely love what I do at Grand River Hall and I look forward to each event or wedding because each one is so unique. I love taking on the logistics of the event so everything can run smoothly and a good time can be had by all! Thank you so much for visiting our page and considering Grand River Hall for your event. Your choice to choose Grand River Hall helps to support our amazing staff and their families, as well as our own families. Your support helps with our kids sporting fees, school registration and just everyday bills. Without our amazing community working together we would never be able to do this!
Hey Y’all. I’m Shelly. I’m the other half of Grand River Hall. I’m married to an incredible man, Bradley, who is a PE teacher in Freeport and also a football coach for Dakota. We have four awesome kids, Maximus, Ruby, and twins Indie and Aksel. I work three days a week for my dad’s manufacturing business (which is located in the same building as GRH). The other days I am home watching my tribe and doing GRH work when I can.
If you see me at an event I will usually be bartending. Holly usually manages the event and has a hard time letting go of the reins (don’t tell her I said that). She seems to think that not everything can be solved with shots. Me…I just want to keep the party going. Nothing makes me happier than to see everyone having a good time and making memories.
I love Jesus, food/eating, a good movie (with popcorn of course), and the beach. We are also in the beginning stages of the sports life. I enjoy watching Maximus wrestle and Ruby do gymnastics. I may or may not be the crazy yell-y mom in the stands. Ooops. Indie & Aksel aren’t quite old enough yet, but they will be there before I know it.
In my spare time I like to craft, cook from scratch, crochet, crossfit, and volunteer. Just kidding. I don’t do any of that. In my spare time I like to sleep.