January 17, 2021

Baqara develops Newton presence with event center, floral shop

The owners of Baqara are starting to make a name for themselves when it comes to operating roller rinks and floral shops in Newton.

Owners and operators Yvette and Clinton Webster are in the middle of renovating their new venue, and they plan to start hosting events. No weddings have taken place yet, but skating at this location is well underway.

Appointments for tours of the building, now known as Baqara Coliseum, 1611 First Ave. W., are available now.

The couple began their business ventures operating a floral shop before expanding into more of a venue business. The two have been in business since 2013.

“It’s a work in progress, but we’re making progress,” Clinton said, regarding the renovations to the coliseum. “I got the floor done last week. This was a lot of hours.”

The Websters hope all the renovations for the building to be done by the time the first wedding takes place. Among the work done on the skate floor, which has a disco ball hanging above the middle of the space, is a painted design inspired by a Kleenex box design they thought was neat. Other designs are also under construction in the backyard of the coliseum. The upstairs rooms will transition into a dining room.

So far, the first booked wedding will take place April 20, with a second wedding toward the end of June. A concert is also planned Oct. 19 at the coliseum. The skating rink has organized several theme nights such Harry Potter, St. Patrick’s Day or country night.

“I promised a little boy in a country hat and country boots that we’d do country night,” Clinton said.

Baqara Coliseum, formerly known as West Gate Coliseum, used to be owned by Levi and Barbara Pence. The rink was primarily used for skating during the winter and for a venue to host wedding reception parties, corporate events, concerts and dances during the summer.

The Pences bought the building and the property in 2000, intending to use it for roller skating. The skating rink was originally called Skate Castle, and after renovations in 2012 to serve non-skating events, the business was renamed.

The Websters also purchased space on the south side of the downtown Newton square that they turned into a floral shop. That floral shop, located at 109 First Ave. W., can serve as a key place in Newton to buy decorations for weddings and funerals.

With a coffee-bar style checkout counter and decorative vines along the walls, the business gives an event-style vibe. One of the biggest features is Baqara’s large cooler, which is full of flowers customers can quickly pay for and bring to their events.

When the Websters first purchased the space, they had a lot of areas with dark-brown motifs to fix up. They installed new carpet, replaced a cracked front window and improved the structure of the walls.

Contact Orrin Shawl at 641-792-3121 ext. 6533 or