April 18, 2010

Friday, I made my first visit to Dancers Studio still-under-construction space and event venue. And now I am getting excited!

First of all, at 9 in the morning-despite a traffic-stopping accident on Cedar Lake Road that closed a lane of traffic, I still made it from 50th and 100 to the site on the edge of St Paul, parked, and walked in the door in less than 25 minutes! That was good news and tells me that accessibility from all points in the metro area is indeed a selling point to add to the growing list of positives. I like that.

For those who have not heard the back story, Dancers Studio, deemed best dance studio in the metro area by Mpls/St Paul Magazine, has been in business for 24 years – most recently located on Snelling Ave not far off I-94. Their space in the old Fire Station was charming and soon they were experiencing requests to rent it for events. They listened to their customers and accommodated them. So over the years, they taught dance, staged their own events, held weddings, celebrations, and events, and grew right out of the space. That’s another good sign. I like that.

I met Marcy McHenry on a flight returning from Vegas and the Event Solutions Conference. With the looming move to a larger space that will allow sit–down dinner events for 450 people, Marcy and Shinya invested in the learning opportunities for herself and two of her staff so they would be better prepared for clientele that will be attracted to the larger space. We spent most of the flight back talking about the venue, its unique size much needed in the metro area, and how to best market and support events they would like to attract to the site. I like that.

Within a week, I had joined a great team of partners assisting the McHenrys, their energetic staff, and the Dancers Studio in making a successful transition that allows them to expand their event business from mostly the social market to that which includes corporate events and non-profits. I like that.

Hardwood floors through-out; an inviting (and large) lobby; 5400 sq ft in the main ballroom; two smaller ballrooms for dance use, which offer additional space for reception, silent auctions, and are visually accessible through glass walls; a great neutral color palate of grays and charcoal; retractable chandeliers and disco balls; seven lighting tracks that run lengthwise through the space; parking for over 200 cars and access to more; a full catering kitchen; one permanent bar/lounge; and several options for storage. I like all of that.

So I was already looking forward to doing my first event in the space when I had an opportunity to do a walk-through on Friday. There were no disappointments in what I had been told, but better yet, there were some surprises I did not know about. It is important to note this venue is doing its best under the direction of Ross Anderson, Project Manager, and Advanced Energy Consulting to think “Green”. I like that.

Next week we should finish visits to support vendors except for determining the preferred list of caterers and will continue working on developing the support documents you all need to determine if this is the right venue for you – from pricing to site plans and floor plans to standardized quotation formats and contracts, lists of preferred and recommended vendors, and custom timelines for each event. I like that.

We plan to do a soft opening since June already has several event bookings (and the first sizeable non-profit is already committed for November!) so we will be able to test, evaluate and refine the space and how it works through the summer. We’ll keep you posted on the progress, but in the meantime, you may want to check out the “Moving” page at http://www.dancersstudio.com/studio-were-moving.php for status updates and a general site plan.

I like how it is all coming together, and I know you will like to hold your event here sometime soon!

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