LEWISTON — The bull horns are gone.
They've have been packed away, replaced by knickknack-free walls with a fresh coat of white paint. The original hardwood floors have been refinished.
The ceiling has been raised — there's no risk of a dancer knocking their head on the dangling disco ball anymore.
Doris and Stan Pelletier said they got tired of the comments at C & J Hall, on its rough outside and tired inside, and three years ago started the long process of a self-financed renovation.
"A couple of weddings I lost because of having bull horns," Doris Pelletier, 70, said. "I think the worst part is coming over and spending 45 minutes (waiting for a scheduled appointment to arrive) and they'd driven away."
Renovation included redoing the name. It's now Pelletier's Banquet Facility, and business is up more than 50 percent compared to before the renovation.
"I get a lot of 'Oh my gods,' 'Oh my God, I was here years ago and it wasn't like this,'" Stan Pelletier, 66, said.
The couple, both Lewiston natives, bought the building at 711 Webster St. sight unseen at a foreclosure auction in 2004.
He said they tackled the 1970s building's roof, created a new entrance, installed new siding and raised the ceiling in the center of the dance floor to 12 feet, adding two modern drop chandeliers and two fans. The formerly stucco ceilings are now a smooth white. Four columns have been added to the dance floor, part decoration, part to hold up the heavier ceiling.
Long rectangular tables have been replaced with circular ones with new chairs.
The couple did some of the work themselves. When Doris complained that Stan's 16-ounce hammer was too heavy, he made a special trip to the hardware store to search for an 8-ounce one.
"She used it for the rest of the job, it was awesome," he said.
They declined to reveal the cost of the renovation.
"Thousands," Stan said, laughing.
"We haven't pulled any money out of this place, we put it all back in," Doris said.
The last major project left is retarring the driveway.
Rental fees range from $250 for a three-hour baby shower to $3,500 for an all-inclusive wedding package with a buffet for 100 guests. On wedding days, Doris cooks, Stan tends bar and son Jamie deejays. More than half of the couples choose to get married in the same space, Doris said. They set up an arch at no extra charge.
The most popular use is weddings, she said, followed by anniversary parties. It's also held Sweet 16 parties, memorials and birthdays. A month ago the business started hosting the Knights of Columbus' singles and couples Sunday night dances.
The work has paid off, judging by bookings. One woman who was a guest at a wedding there last weekend, seeing the space for the first time, came in this week to book her own wedding.
"I have a wedding for 2014 already booked," Doris said.
This story was updated Friday at 2:10 p.m.