Although D’Mar Banquet & Conference Center is only a few years old, it has been years in the making and a home-grown service proudly serving Owosso, Flint and Lansing area families. This is the story of Dianne Rodgers, her husband Mike and making dreams come true. Here’s a quick history of how D’Mar came to be…
Both Dianne and Mike grew up in homes with parents who owned restaurants. Dianne’s earliest childhood memories are in her parent’s diner in Pennsylvania. When Dianne moved to Owosso in 1967, her parents opened the Coffee Cup restaurant on South M-52 where Mike and Dianne worked together throughout high school. Mike also worked his Senior year at the Townhouse Restaurant in Owosso, which his Dad opened in 1971. Coincidentally, after graduation Dianne worked at Giant’s grocery store, in the building where D’Mar is now located.
A storybook romance, Mike & Dianne become high school sweethearts and married in 1974. They knew from the beginning that together they would make so many dreams come true. Their family started growing in 1978 with the birth of their son Steve, followed shortly by Joe in 1980. In 1984 Dianne stayed at home to raise her family.
Their business ventures together began in the summer of 1991, when the company Mike worked for closed. The young couple decided to start a business they could work together. In a small portion of a building owned by friends on S M-52 they opened Creative Catering by Dianne. Mike was the chef and Dianne took care of sales, marketing & baking. On the first day they opened, they did an event for Indian Trails Bus Company & Shiawasee Regional Educational Service District. Both of these companies are still customers today.
It wasn’t long before they outgrew their first kitchen. In the fall of 1993 they moved to Baker College of Owosso and built their second commercial kitchen on its campus. Dianne becomes Food Service Director for the campus and they continued off-site catering from this location. The business continued to grow and they became the premier caterer in Shiawassee County. Baker College expanded and built a conference center. So Dianne and Mike added another commercial kitchen and business continued to grow. The two started dreaming of someday creating a venue of their own in Owosso.
Before they could accomplish this next step together, Mike was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 and passed away in 2010. Dianne continued the business with the help of her son Steve.
In 2014 Dianne decided to leave Baker and follow her and Mike’s dream to open their own venue.
Dianne leased a building, the site of the former Giant’s grocery where she worked so many years ago. In September 2014 construction began. Without waiting for the build out to be completed, Dianne started booking weddings by walking couples through the construction zone and explaining her vision. By the end of 2014, 12 weddings were booked based on only Dianne’s vivid description of her vision.
Dianne turned the dream she and Mike shared into reality. The first bride & groom walked down the D’Mar grand staircase to their reception on May 16, 2015. “D’Mar” stands for Dianne & Mike Allen Rodgers. He will always be a part of D’Mar.