GREENFIELD – It’s been two years since mother-daughter duo Karla Howard and Jade Frost announced plans to transform a former church into a dinner theater venue in Greenfield.

Taste and See Dinner Theater and Event Center is not where they’d like it to be yet, but the pair find themselves optimistic. They still believe it’s a family-friendly entertainment idea that the community needs.

“Her famous phrase is, ‘It’ll be fine,’” Karla Howard said.

“Or, ‘It’s figure-out-able,’” Jade Frost chimed in, chuckling.

Karla Howard and her husband Mike bought the former First Baptist Church at 404 S. West St. in Greenfield in 2021. The church had closed in 2018. At the time, the Howards expected an updated kitchen, expanded bathrooms and new floors and walls to create a space for the community to rent starting in the summer of 2022.

But this spring walking through building, the two say there’s still much work that needs to be done.

Pews were removed in the former sanctuary, and a stage is there for what will ultimately be tables and chairs for dinner shows by local community groups. Two rooms were transformed into a bridal suite and groom’s room for possible weddings, but a kitchen still needs transformed into a space for catered meals.

Much of the church vibe is still there, and the small business owners say they need more capital to reach their dream.

“We thought we’d be ready to go (by now),” Howard said, reflecting on the two-year mark they got a green light from city officials to rezone the property.

They’ve thought about having fundraisers to help, but they’re not a non-profit agency so they don’t want to ask for money. Still, they believe it would be a great space for small community shows, piano recitals, dance recitals, youth group events and more.

“We hear a lot, ‘When are you going to open?’” Howard said.

“We’re trying to bring stuff here (to Greenfield) so people don’t have to travel,” Frost added.

Still, they’re hosting small events at the venue to keep the idea at the forefront of the community. They post frequently on social media sites: in April, they’re offering family camping and games for the solar eclipse, as well as a suncatcher craft class.

Any proceeds they make will go straight back into the renovation of the building.

They had high hopes in December for a breakout room-style event. Three of the old Sunday School classrooms were transformed into North Pole-style breakout rooms, complete with clues that participants would have had to find to move from one space to the next. Just before opening the experience, however, they were told by fire safety officials they couldn’t open due to safety codes.

“We’re kind of at a standstill right now, trying to do what we can,” Howard said.

The pair encourages the community to keep up with their venue, offer ideas and participate in their small events to keep their ideas afloat. They’d like to see even more arts and crafts events at the site, for example, and are open to other ideas.

Anyone who wants to offer help, either financially or in-kind through contractual work, could get discounts on future events at the site, Howard suggested.

Nothing has changed in their ultimate vision for the venue: they want a family-friendly atmosphere for talent shows, theater, trivia nights, film screenings, live music, comedians, breakfasts with Santa and more. They are optimistic their business will pick up this year.

“(By this time next year) I hope to be up and ready to go, and we will be having plays and selling tickets for dinner and plays,” Howard said.

Tent camping is available at the venue the night before the solar eclipse. They’re planning on a glow party, photo booth, karaoke, trivia and more, as well as a breakfast and coffee bar April 7-8.

A spring suncatcher workshop is scheduled for 1 p.m. April 27, where guests can choose a frame and their favorite beads, charms, shells and colors to create a hanging work of art.

For more, visit “Taste & See Theater and Event Center” on Facebook or email [email protected].