Last week I was working for a client, hosting a Friday night reception at a charming wine store owned by a husband and wife. The wine store is in a very sweet and intimate setting that accommodates up to 50 people. During the event, I had a couple of situations happen that I wasn’t so thrilled about, so I feel I need to give a word of warning to meeting planners renting store fronts.
Renting a store front offers a few benefits:
- It can be cheaper in cost as, many times, there is no rental fee.
- Inherent charm means little decor is needed.
- Financially, it tends to be a good deal for the owners because the store’s cash register can remain open for guests to make purchases. (We bought all the wine from them, giving the owners a nice piece of after-hours business.)
Unfortunately, it comes with one big liability: You are pulling the owners out of their natural work circumstances and, therefore, need to clearly communicate the “rules” of your holding an event in their store for a couple of hours.
This is where I got lazy. Because we have rented out the space before, I didn’t review my expectations for the event with the owners. Consequently, the owners forgot they were supposed to be working the event and started acting like guests. I continually had to remind them to pour wine and talk with the real attendees. Even though the store was a buyout, they invited some their regular clients to come see the “cool” event happening at their store, which did not happen the last time. These uninvited guests even drank wine intended (and purchased) for us. So, the owners had a lovely evening drinking wine, eating our food and talking with their friends instead of giving us exclusive use of their store and supporting our event 100 percent. I know I learned my lesson. Hopefully, this will keep you from making the same mistake.
That is my story for now and I am sticking to it.