Companies are rethinking their holiday parties with different kinds of venues
Gleason & Associates P.C. outgrew its regular holiday party venue, a Shadyside restaurant, in 2010, but Sue Gleason found a replacement that offered the best of both worlds for the certified public accounting firm.
James Gallery & Frame Foundry in the West End wasn't too big or too small, nor did it require decoration, she said. The firm held its annual holiday party in the gallery for the fourth consecutive time on Saturday.
“It's not a restaurant. It's not a club. It's not a hotel. It really makes you feel like you're in some place special,” said Gleason, whose husband, Mark Gleason, is the president and founder Gleason & Associates.
Such sentiments are driving companies and other organizations' demand for holiday party venues that are distinct, sometimes even odd, and give revelers something to talk about — and remember, event planning and supply experts said.
“I would say that over the past couple of years, it's been really growing. People are starting to see the effect that it can have on an organization if they have a really unique holiday party,” said Allison Miller, senior marketing director at All Occasions Party Rental, a party equipment and supply rental company based in Eighty-Four.
Websites such as Pinterest are contributing to the demand because they allow venues, event planners and party throwers to display and share party ideas for free, she said.
Some of All Occasions' clients have hosted holiday parties on rooftops of parking garages, and in warehouses, airplane hangars, train stations and the Old Allegheny County Jail, Downtown, she said.
Despite the growing demand for one-of-a-kind parties, the percentage of companies that plan to throw any kind of end-of-year or holiday party this year is down from last year — 66 percent compared to 72 percent — according to surveys of 748 human resources professionals in 2013 and 362 in 2012 that the Alexandria, Va.-based Society for Human Resource Management conducted.
The Prop Shop, a prop and furniture rental business that has been located in the East End for 13 years, began renting out its showroom, which is outfitted with $100,000 worth of props, for parties in December 2012, owner Steve Weiner said.
In one room, party guests can visit stations with various themes, such as Hollywood, Italy, night clubs and the old West, he said.
“So if someone has it here, they don't have to rent the props,” he said.
The same could be said about James Gallery, but the “props” are fine art pieces that change regularly.
“I think that's a big advantage if someone is looking to host a party, is that they really don't have to decorate,” gallery owner James Frederick said.
Some venues offer more of a blank canvas that clients can dress up to their liking.
South Side-based Jay Verno Studios, a commercial studio with a sound stage, was built for TV commercials, owner J. Verno said. Party-throwing clients can rent out Verno's area and access two high-end gourmet kitchens, tables, chairs, a built-in photo booth and an audiovisual system with a lighting grid.
His holiday party business is growing because “I think people are just bored. Go to a hotel, it's always the same cookie-cutter structure. … I think they just want to have some place that's not typical,” Verno said.
Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer at Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Sting highlights demand for Pappy Van Winkle bourbon
- New CEO eager to revitalize Pittsburgh International Airport
- Propel Braddock school bans backpacks, to add metal detectors
- Goodell defends league, dodges difficult questions
- Newsmaker: Kate Groschner
- Pa. Turnpike claims software fraud, wants $45M
- Police say couple in Oakland murder-suicide had ‘troubled’ relationship
- Charge against ex-Steeler dropped after community service
- Week before sentencing, Ferrante seeks acquittal or new trial
- Overnight snow delaying schools in Western Pa.
- 2nd lawsuit filed against Gov. Wolf seeking reinstatement of open records director