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Los Gatos Opera House Closes

Customers with wedding deposits worried about getting money back, competitors wondering if business has ceased operations for good and why.

Update: 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 15: David Henshaw, the attorney representing now-closed Los Gatos Opera House Banquets, Inc., issued the following statement about the business' closure this morning:

"Opera House Banquets, Inc. is currently in the process of winding down, and dissolving the corporation. It is also determining the assets that can be liquidated, with any proceeds being available to pay creditors, including those that have deposits for future events. The amount of assets and subsequent proceeds are not known at this time."

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A sign outside the Los Gatos Opera House says it's closed. It advises the public to contact Henshaw Law Office in San Jose for information.

Several readers contacted Los Gatos Patch this week concerned that deposits made to the business, Los Gatos Opera House Banquets, Inc., will be lost with the surprising closure.

"I represent a group that was looking at booking the facility for a future event, and had been contacted by a co-worker that had been trying to contact them since last week, with unanswered calls," said a local resident who declined to be identified.

The woman said she had walked over the iconic building, 140 W. Main St., and found the office empty and a small crowd had gathered outside Wednesday morning wondering what would happen to their deposits and events.

Other wedding venues in both Los Gatos and Saratoga also contacted this publication wondering what's going on with the business. The facility, with a capacity for more than 300 people, has been the go-to place for weddings, charity luncheons and fundraisers.

"Since many people have rented space at the Opera House for upcoming events such as weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc., those affected may be scrambling to find a new space for their event," noted one wedding coordinator who also declined to be identified.

Indeed, said building owner and Los Gatos resident Paul Dorsa, the business was having trouble making rent and owes him about $120,000.

"He owes me almost a year's rent. He pulled the plug Feb. 1 and his last day was Feb. 10. I allowed him to stay the extra days so he can do two more events.

Erik Wilhelmsen and wife Jennifer owned the business for several years after buying it from the Toll House Hotel, Dorsa said. "We have several people looking to rent it as a banquet facility," he added.

Los Gatos Patch left several messages for Michelle McDonald, the administrative assistant for the Henshaw Law Office, which specializes in real estate, civil litigation, employment and bankruptcy law.

Several retail businesses operate on the building's first floor, while the entire second floor was occupied by the Opera House.

The Opera House's website is also down and a message of "Please check back soon," on a white page was being shown to visitors.

The Opera House's phone number, too, is disconnected.

"Last we talked he mentioned he had saved the deposits [from weddings] and was intending to return them," Dorsa said.

Larry Arzie February 20, 2013 at 05:08 PM
The illegal use of deposits is a criminal offense, especially if they knew they could not fulfill the contract. Contact the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office NOW.
Testarossa Winery February 21, 2013 at 06:46 PM
We, here at Testarossa Winery, are sad to hear of the loss of our friends at The Opera House! If you lost your deposit and are looking for a back-up plan, Testarossa Winery offers all the elegance, charm and amenities you are looking for when planning your special day. Your guests will be captivated by the magic and lure of our century-old winery while tasting our award-winning wines. Located in the historic Novitiate Winery, Testarossa is just a half a mile off of East Main Street in downtown Los Gatos. No long, winding roads, plenty of nearby lodging. Our per person package price is all-inclusive, covering space rental, food and beverage – only the tax is extra. Additional time, beverages, and dance floor are available. Please note that all menus are flexible (additional charges may occur). Last year, we hosted over 250 corporate and private events at Testarossa – our experienced staff and renowned hospitality insure that your special function will be fondly remembered by your guests for years to come. To inquire about having your Special Event here at Testarossa Winery, please contact events@testarossa.com or (408)354-6150 ext.32).
Mona Raby February 21, 2013 at 10:56 PM
The closing of the Opera House is very unfortunate however The Pavilion in Redwood Estates is ready for your next event. Only minutes from down town Los Gatos. Our facility boasts 1800 square feet of maple dance floor, a Redwood Deck, and a Redwood Grove. We can hold up to 125 people, are ADA complaint, have plenty of parking, and is priced right. Just the right setting for the ceremony, photos and reception. visit www.redwoodestates.net or call 408-353-1866 for futher information.
Gary Hinze February 23, 2013 at 10:35 AM
There are some things that are unclear in this story. What is the exact identity of the corporation which took the deposits? Who is the owner? The California Secretary of State lists the following: Entity Name: SARATOGA VILLAGE CATERERS, INC. Entity Number: C2034096 Date Filed: 08/26/1997 Status: ACTIVE Jurisdiction: CALIFORNIA Entity Address: 140 WEST MAIN STREET Entity City, State, Zip: LOS GATOS CA 95030 Agent for Service of Process: ERIK FINN WILHELMSEN Agent Address: 140 WEST MAIN STREET Agent City, State, Zip: LOS GATOS CA 95030 The corporate name is not consistent with what has been reported, but the owner's name is.
Nance' Danner Rocha March 21, 2013 at 09:45 PM
I am also sad to see the Opera House go, Our company Sybella Party Rentals really loved the facility. If anyone finds a new venue that needs party rentals, chairs, tables, linens, dishes, let me know how i can help. Nance' 408 374-9000 x310

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