Archive for the ‘Favorite Vendors’ Category

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REFLECTIONS ON A SEPTEMBER WEEKEND…

September 27, 2010

This past weekend definitely did its best to dispel any images of tranquil, crisp, colorful autumn days that generally mark the beginning of that time of year that has grown to be my favorite – September to December. Instead, it was tumultuous from start to finish!

The rains of last week wrecked havoc and I watched with horror the footage of the out-of control Zumbro River and impacted communities along its path…from Pine Island to Oronoco, White Bridge, and on towards Zumbro Falls and Hammond…names so familiar to me – not only from memories of my youth, but also because my sister and her husband live on that river at Oronoco– high above the raging current.

Meanwhile, the aftermath of those same storms will impact us locally this week, as the Minnesota River carries the run-off northward to us with crests on the Mississippi that will cancel activities on the river that were planned as part of the “We Are One” Dakota Nationwide Conference with which many members of our “Telling Native Stories “ group have been assisting.

One old friend is dealing with the last days of a dear pet, while for another from those BI days, life’s journey ended in hospice and today we will remember her well.

Meanwhile, I, like the Zumbro River, am raging over the pettiness of a one-time friend and vendor who for the last 7 weeks has done his own raging because he did not get a linen order from me…enough said until some time in the future when I am sure I can speak of it without showing the disdain I feel today for the self-centered, immature campaign he has launched to discredit the event, me, and my team. Who knew a $700 order was so important? Because that is all he could have competitively delivered of that order in the one week timeframe we had to source, rent, ship and deliver within our tight cost and color parameters for an event for 5000 people. And who knew that the Apres-who did get the order along with the order for 225 hi-tops, is no longer considered a local ISES member – at elast in this man’s twisted mind. I am reminded of a favorite quote from my college days – which in this new context, takes on new meaning – “We Are Such Little Men When the Stars Come Out.”

Add to that, the issues of the day from politics, to reform of education in Minnesota, to Target’s incorrect use of the word “grocery”, to learning that old perfume should not be disposed of in the trash or down the drain because it is a hazardous material and should be dropped off at the country household hazardous waste facility, all trumped by the fact that today is a day of celebration known as “Family Day: A Day To Eat Dinner With Your Children”. Who Knew?!!! And what does that say about our world?

Thank Goodness, the weekend ended at the Guthrie with a wonderful performance of “The Master Butchers Singing Club” followed by good conversation and a glass of wine in Sea Change as a friend and I fondly remembered another dear friend, now living in California who had introduced Louise Erdrick and her books to both of us. Thank you, Rhonda Couchigan!

Hopefully, those good feelings at the end of Sunday are what extends into the week before us, as September straightens out and gives us the temperatures, blue skies, colors and glory of a Minnesota Fall that we expect!

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IT’S COMING TOGETHER

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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A REAL GOOD Company

December 16, 2009

Thanks to the Strib, I started the day with a smile when they included a brief article in the Variety Section about bludot’s “ A REAL GOOD experiment” .

If you don’t know this company, check them out at http://www.bludot.com. They are quirky, fun and REAL GOOD.

My infatuation with them began when I first noticed their furniture in European design magazines a few years ago and realized they were home town peeps. At the time, they had done little in marketing in the Twin Cities and were not a familiar name. From a visit to their website, to a visit to their headquarters, to their annual sales events, to exploring a collaborative partnership for a bludot lounge for the press during the RNC, to frequent visits to their retail outlet, Roam, to see what’s new, I am a REAL GOOD fan! Trust me, learn who they are, and you may become one too.

And today? Today I learned that one of my favorites, the REAL GOOD chair (I want two for my office in red) was the focus of a “REAL GOOD experiment” in NYC. Twenty-five chairs, some armed with GPS, were dropped at locations through-out New York City. As they were “curb-mined”, bludot followed their travels through out the city. Check out the results on their web – it will make you smile too, as you witness this innovative example of experiential marketing!