John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher, and today I’m here with Norman Lemcke and Kristi Swett of Woodman’s and the Essex Room, which is the Woodman’s event venue. Kristi is an event coordinator for Woodman’s and is a fifth-generation Woodman herself, and today we’re talking about the Essex Room open house. Welcome, Norman and Kristi.
Kristi Swett: Hi, John.
Norman Lemcke: Hi, John. Thanks.
John: Kristi, tell me about the new open house at the Essex Room.
Kristi: The open house is something we started. It’s occurring on Wednesday evenings from six to eight, and it’s a chance for you to stop by and take a look at the space.
John: OK. Norman, what need do you think this fulfills for potential clients who might be looking for an event venue?
Norman: I think it allows people to look at an event venue without feeling pressure, on their own time, at their own pace, which they don’t get at other event venues.
John: Normally, you would call up an event venue and you’d make an appointment. You’d go in, you’d meet with somebody.
John: You might get the hard sell, if you will, from them.
Norman: Right, or they’ll throw a folder of information at you and that’s it. That’s not the way we do it. [laughs]
John: Right. The open house, it’s literally just open and people can stop by and just check out the space.
Norman: Absolutely. Open to the public. Doesn’t matter what event you are trying to put together. It’s just casual and we’re there.
John: OK. What aspects of the Essex Room do you think are unique in terms of the space or the services that are provided?
Kristi: I think one of our biggest appeals is that we only do one event per day, so there is no time restraints on when you can or cannot schedule your event.
John: OK. Anything else, Norman?
Norman: I would say that the fact that we pretty much handle everything on-site is a huge bonus, particularly for brides and grooms, because they don’t have to worry about coordinating photographers and all of that on their own separately. We can just do it, one place.
John: OK. You have a coordinator that works with people, especially brides, when you’re talking about weddings. You have your own catering at the Essex Room.
Norman: Yeah, we have a great new chef, Ned Grieg, who is putting out some awesome food. We have Maurine and Faye who are there, and they deal with not just weddings, but also corporate events — any kind of event.
John: Can people bring in outside vendors as well, if they have their own florist that they want to work with, or their own photographer?
Kristi: Yes, absolutely. We have no exclusive vendors on our list. We do have a list put together that we have used in the past to help get you started, but if you already have these decisions made, they’re more than welcome to come into our space.
John: Great. What types of different events can you have at the Essex Room? Is the open house literally open for all of those types of events?
Norman: Yes, absolutely. The term “open” [laughs] is very…
John: You have weddings at the Essex Room. What other kinds of events do you have?
Norman: Oh, my gosh. We’ve had bridal showers…
Kristi: Rehearsal dinners.
Norman: Rehearsal dinners.
Kristi: Fundraisers. Company outings.
Norman: Corporate meetings.
John: Birthday parties and bar mitzvahs and things like that?
Norman: Yeah, anything. We’ll accommodate any event.
Kristi: Senior proms, even if you’re a school looking to come and you have students planning the activity.
Norman: We do auctions.
John: Anybody, from the corporate sector to just a family looking for an event venue, to a bride and groom or a bride’s parents, they can all stop by at this open house and check out the space.
Norman: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Particularly for people who are having out-of-town people come in and they can’t see it, just say, “Stop by.”
John: OK. Norman and Kristi, thanks very much for meeting with me. For more information, you can visit the website at essexroom.com or call 978-768-7335.