The W comes to Elm Street in Downtown Greensboro

by Myja Gary

Young and gifted entrepreneur Karen Willette is never satisfied as she continues to pursue new projects that support growth in Downtown Greensboro. Her latest project is The W in the former Ham’s building at 324 S. Elm St.Willette has been an entrepreneur for approximately 20 years since discovering her passion for event planning. While in college, Willette studied accounting and, often times, found herself bored. At a young age, she worked as a bartender in which she saved enough money to buy the former Old Fuzzy Ducks building, which is currently Club Blur on West Market Street. For four years, she maintained a college bar and worked private events decorating, bar tending and some small catering in her free time.In 2004, Willette founded Visions Catering Inc. in High Point, a catering and special events company servicing to the Triad area. Throughout 10-plus years, Visions Catering evolved through weddings, charity events, sorority parties, corporate meetings and more. Several years later in 2014, she went on to open Kress Terrace, a rooftop indoor/outdoor special events rental and Suite 300, another special events venue in downtown Greensboro.”I thought to myself, what if we could do a couple more things in Downtown Greensboro and help bridge the gap and encourage some other entrepreneur out there that can really make it?” Willette said.Currently, Willette is placing the finishing touches on The W, a fine dining bistro and lounge, which is set to open today. The W is located in the old Ham’s building at 324 S. Elm St. in Downtown Greensboro.”People that know me and know what I do and what I’ve done for 16 years have a big clue for what’s getting ready to happen,” Willette said. “If you don’t know, it’s going to hit Greensboro by a storm. It’s like bringing Chicago and New York to Greensboro.”With its very unique décor and new American menu, The W is sure to attract customers and keep them coming back for more.”It’s so cool and so all over the place. There is something for vegans, there’s awesome steaks on there, there’s really crazy burgers,” Willette said. “Then you got ahi tuna on a sizzling salt stone, mussels, beef tataki, Canadian poutine, flatbreads and more and everything is made from scratch, from farm to table. The W will have two floors with open patios for a city view. The downstairs will be a bistro for social fine dining and the upstairs will be private dining by reservation only.””Let’s get this city rocking,” Willette said. “Greensboro is still growing and that means there are opportunities across the board.”