The Hive creating a buzz as downtown Sandpoint hotspot

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Jeff Grady and Shelby Rognstad moved bar stools to the second floor of new business The Hive’s location, making the location a good one for a top-down view of a show. (Photo by CAMERON RASMUSSON)

SANDPOINT — As you might expect, new downtown business The Hive is creating quite a buzz.

Located in the building formerly occupied by The Dive, The Hive plays off that relationship with a similar name and role as a downtown destination. However, according to business co-owner Shelby Rognstad, The Hive takes a decidedly different approach toward the goal of being one of Sandpoint’s central hot spots. Rather than organizing itself as a bar and restaurant in competition with the many other downtown establishments, The Hive works with those locations to provide a location for shows, concerts, parties and just about any other kind of event one can imagine.

“We’re going for everything from banquets to rained-out weddings,” Rognstad said.

The business opportunity first presented itself when Richard Auletta, owner of the Beyond Hope resort, was investigating potential venues for a performance by Gaudi, a DJ from London. Despite owning one potential venue and having worked with others in the past, he couldn’t find a location that suited this particular show. That’s when Auletta, Rognstad and fellow partner Jeff Grady teamed up to turn the spacious 207 North First Avenue building into an event space perfect for the occasion. Shortly afterward, Lara Convery joined the team as the venue manager.

According to Rognstad, The Hive makes a perfect concert venue for a number of reasons. For one thing, it’s got the space to pack in hundreds of concert goers on both the ground floor and the second floor balconies, which provide an excellent vantage point to watch performances. By keeping beer, wine and liquor purchases relegated to the second floor and restricting access to those 21 and over, The Hive can keep its shows open to all ages, too. Finally, the light and sound systems and movable stage make the venue perfect for dance shows as opposed to sit-down concerts.

“It really lends itself to that more intimate relationship between the performer and the audience,” Rognstad said.

Concerts and music shows aren’t the only thing Rognstad, Auletta, Grady and Convery are looking at when it comes to booking events. The Hive will be a part of the Art Walk with a live painting show featuring four local artists. Rognstad is organizing an upcoming fashion show to highlight the talents of local clothing designers. And The Hive will be the place to be for Aftival, an after-party for Festival at Sandpoint attendees to keep the good times going.

Although The Hive unofficial debuted earlier this year for events like Lost in the ’50s and the Sandpoint High School prom, the Gaudi show set for 7 p.m. tomorrow serves as its ceremonial opening. Rognstad hopes the night will be the beginning of a chance to bring more people and more business to downtown bars and restaurants.

“When 500 people spill out of the venue after midnight, they’ll be looking for that next place to visit,” he said.

Information: The Hive, 290-3048

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