CASPER, Wyo. — “Occasions by Cory” is a catering and special events company that has been operating in Casper since 2015.
They’re making a move into space downtown which will allow them to also host events for people and businesses throughout the community.
“Obviously everybody is familiar with the big red building downtown,” President and Owner Cory Poulos said on Wednesday, Nov. 27.
Article continues below...
He was referring to the building at 303 South Wolcott Street which previously hosted a Thai restaurant.
“I think through the years there has been a lot of interest in the building,” Poulos added. “Luck has a lot to do with things and timing has a lot to do with things.”
“Sometimes the best things in life happen when the timing is right. For whatever reason we were looking to make a leap of faith in the business and things just worked out to make the move at this time.”
Occasions by Cory is able to cater for a variety of event types including weddings, parties, fundraisers and corporate events. They also rent out event equipment like tables, chairs and linens.
“We’ll be open for the holiday season for December,” Poulos said.
The company is still working to get their new space just how they want it.
“It’s a lot of space to fill but we’re excited about new opportunities that are going to come here,” Poulos said. “Just kind of reinvigorating this little area of Wolcott downtown.”
“You know, having the lights on, having some activity down here, I think it is exciting for downtown, it’s exciting for Casper and it’s certainly exciting for myself and my team to be part of that change and growth that downtown Casper is experiencing.”
Poulos said he thinks Casper’s downtown is seeing a bit of a resurgence.
“I think we had some of that [growth] and then a little bit of setback after the eclipse,” he added. “I think we’re starting to see some of that growth again and its exciting to have even just a small hand in that.”
Poulos says that Occasions by Cory is able to offer a variety of services.
“We have a unique twist on things because we do offer so many services,” he said. “I think the goal for this is the expansion of the company here.”
“We have two full-time kitchens on-site here and we’re really pushing the on-site event space. This will allow us to do so many different things because we have this space here.”
People or companies who would rather utilize a different space will still have the option to have Occasions by Cory cater those.
But the new venue will be able to help fill the void of hotel or conference space available in downtown Casper. The two floors of the new space will appeal to different types of events.
“Each of the floors have an extremely different vibe to them,” Poulos said. “I think this is going to be really warm down here and receptive. It’s just really kind of rich down here. Upstairs is going to be more bachelorette and birthday parties and cocktail parties.”
“We have an eclectic, to say the least, space upstairs. It’s got swanky tiger print carpet and deep cherry wood. It’s got great mountain views. It’s got deep cherry walls, so it’s really rich up there.
The first floor will be more suited to events like elegant weddings, Poulos added.
“We’re now booking all 2020 events,” he said. “Wedding season typically starts April to May. A lot of venues are full because they’ve been around.”
“One good thing for us is we’re just opening so we do still have availability in spring, summer and fall of 2020.”
Poulos says he went full time with Occasion by Cory in 2018. That comes after extensive experience with food and catering.
“I grew up working in my grandpa’s restaurant in Worland,” he said.
That was called Antone’s Wagon Wheel Supper Club.
“From the time I was little I would spend holidays and weeks in the summer up there working for him,” Poulos continued. “I always had a love for food. I loved to eat. I mean its just a simple pleasure in life and its a good way to get people together. That kind of fostered my love of that. I started cooking from a very young age.”
“I started working on the catering side when I was at the University of Wyoming, for Campus Catering. Following graduation I went to work for Epicurean Catering in Denver. They are the largest in Colorado.”
That experience in Denver gave Poulos a number of unique experiences working as an event designer.
“I got to take part in really awesome events,” he said. “We did everything for the Denver Broncos and Mike Shanahan’s kids’ weddings at his house and [John] Elway’s and Winter X Game events in Aspen.”
“I wound up moving back to Casper working in real estate. On the side, I always loved to cook and throw parties and entertain. So people would start asking me to help them, certain restaurants would ask for help when they did off site catering.”
More and more people began to ask Poulos for help which led to where the company is today.
Poulos says that Occasions by Cory are able to organize and cater for people working with both modest or more extravagant budgets.
“We literally do anything,” he said of the food options available. “Our capabilities are as endless as anybody else’s, it just comes down to budget.”
“That’s where we’ve really found success. We’ve been able to really hit a middle of the road for budget with people where they maybe want something a little bit nicer than store bought but maybe don’t need something on the high end of the spectrum or don’t have the budget for it.”
But they are able to do larger events for groups or people able to spend a little more.
“We also do the Wyoming Medical Center Gala,” Poulos said by way of example. “We do plated dinners for 300 people. We can go as nice as someone’s budget allows.”
“Whether they want BBQ, whether they want heavy appetizers, really beautiful charcuterie trays, whether they want carving stations, flank steak, prime rib. We can do it all. We’re full service.”
No matter what people select for food, Poulos says that presentation is key.
“It doesn’t matter if we’re serving something really simple like pigs-in-a-blanket,” he said. “We present food in a manner that’s more urban, it’s just more appealing to the eye.”
“People eat with their eyes. It doesn’t matter if we are serving something very basic or something more high end. It all looks nice and its all presented in a way that is very unique to Casper and that flare I think definitely comes from my experience in Denver and just liking to present things in a manner that’s exciting for people to look at and in turn makes the food that much better.”
He says the quality of their food presentation is one of the most frequent things customers point to after receiving services from Occasions by Cory.
Another big part of the business is catering for fundraisers. Occasions by Cory will cater to a St. Anthony Tri-Parish Catholic School annual pie event at the school this season.
“Fundraisers are huge,” Poulos said. “We love to partner with the nonprofits in town and do anything we can to help them out. We can give them some deals on rentals or catering.”
“Annually now we do a cattle sale.”
Veronica Mundy is in charge of catering and sales for Occasions by Cory. She pointed to another recent event the company catered. For the second year in a row, they catered to a Rocky Mountain region wool growers gathering.
Last year that was in Casper, but was held in Evanston in 2019.
“I really feel like the wool growers [event] was huge,” Mundy said. “That’s people that know their product. All of those people really know how to cook lamb and how it should be prepared.”
“When you get a compliment from somebody from within that industry about how well it tasted or the presentation and all that, I think that’s huge.”
Poulos adds that the company also partners with Bustard’s Funeral Home to cater their on-site events, so funerals are another event they can service.
Occasions by Cory has three full-time staff and 11 part-timers.
“We have a great team,” Poulos said.
Mundy worked with the Petroleum Club for 27 years until it closed in 2016, working her way up to act as general manager.
“After that Gruner Brothers kept me on and I helped open up the brewery there,” she said.
Then, she decided to make the full move over to Occasions by Cory, where she had done some part-time work.
“It felt like it was time to do something else,” she said.
“I feel really lucky to have her by my side,” Poulos added.
He left off with a word fitting of the holiday season.
“I want people to know how thankful we are for their support,” Poulos said. “It’s a lot of tireless work but we love what we do.”
“It’s such a rewarding business and we’re just thankful for the opportunity. We’re excited for this next step downtown and to see what the future of this building holds and what new memories we can make.”