It is no secret that one of my favorite coffee haunts is Oat Couture on Gladstone. Few people know that it's a coffee shop by day and Ottawa's premier jazz club by night. One night, while sitting, sipping my glass of wine with my true love, we watched some local, yet world class jazz. With echoes in my ear of my business coach, friends and fellow Realtors, "Marc, people are not ok", something hit home. I turned to Sandra and suggested, what a perfect venue for a party, but not just any party. A high class, dress-up, fine wine, live jazz bash where we invite our closest friends and clients to let them know just how GRATEFUL we are to have them in our lives. Let's pull out all the stops and make it a party to end all parties. The energy in the room that night was tangible and indescribable. Clearly, we were all overdue for some old fashioned FUN!
"And now for something completely different". Listening to the radio in my car, I heard about "Glow", a company from Toronto, preparing for its inaugural arrival in Ottawa whereby they were offering an indoor Festival of Lights with activities for all ages. Sandra and I, always grappling with how to raise the bar and create a client event that will cater to all ages and one that will attract more clients, not just our top referrers, we saw GLOW as the perfect mix. And well.... it looked like a lot of fun and WE are ALL about fun! We even had our own private VIP booth.
Wait...how are we going to outdo this event???
Who doesn't like a good donut?l I sure do, and so does every member of the Team. So this Thanksgiving, we decided to mix it up and move away from the traditional "thanksgiving pie", add a whole bunch of sugar, pick a rising star in Ottawa and make some noise about them. We closed Suzy Q for a private party and invited as many of our clients to fit into a small space, drink coffee, eat donuts and take home the good stuff to share with friends and family. The weather cooperated and served us up a hot Fall evening where the party carried on into the street. I wonder if that's why nobody is allowed into their Wellington St. store anymore...
Fun fact! Vanier is home to North America's ONLY urban sugar shack. What is even more ironic is that Vanier, known to many as the neighborhood you want to avoid, happened to be the area where I saw great potential and real upside for real estate. Jokingly referred to as the "King of Vanier", I promoted Vanier LONG before it was sexy. Many made fun of me and yet, looking back, I was convinced I was right... and I was! Countless clients have called and still call Vanier home. I was proud to call Vanier home for almost 9 years myself. We saw no better way to support a community than to throw a Spring sugar festival party in their backyard. Let's get the kids JACKED up with sugar and then send them home... An unfortunate fire burned the shack down during Covid, however, it has been rebuilt and the annual pilgrimage to White Father's forest has been brought BACK this spring!
In my never ending love for coffee, sweets, supporting a local business and having a fun event, Union St. Cafe was to be the setting for my Thanksgiving pie party. Clients were asked to submit their order for their choice of pie and on the day of, swing by to pick it up, see what Union St. was all about, have a visit, buy some goodies and cross promote a dear friend and owner Christine. Sadly, the universe had other plans for me that day. I got into my life changing accident. Sandra, Katrina, my sister Lynne and of course Christine, all stepped up in LaF & Co manner and held a fabulous party without me. We even have the picture to prove it.
As a client of LaF & Co, you have undoubtedly been on the receiving end of one of our creative and fun "Pop-By" gifts. I know, I know, "why, in heaven's name, is a Realtor dropping off leaf bags, windshield washer fluid or any other gimmicky stuff???" Oh, you don't get it? Is this some form of Marketing? Promotion? Stalking? Well, it's really quite simple. You see, we here at LaF & Co like to suggest, we're a little like a bad cold... that just doesn't go away. This is our subtle way of letting you know, we are here, we are thinking of you and WE CARE. Oh yeah, and if you know of any friends or family that are thinking of a move, please let them know, they too can join "The Inner Circle".
This truly was my "coming out" party. I was given an opportunity to be one of Canada's first Incorporated Realtors. Frankly, a very big deal and one I was very proud of. This proved to be the start of what has evolved into something very special. Clearly cause for a fancy celebration and not being one for taking the limelight, this was an opportunity to throw a hell of a classy soiree in a special venue with great food, live Jazz and my closest clients/friends. After all, I am nobody without my clients, my friends and their support. This is where Relational vs Transactional took on a whole new meaning for all of us and became the yardstick by which Laf & Co is measured today.This was also our official introduction to Katrina Burton, a new Realtor, full of life, enthusiasm and an insatiable desire to learn. I just knew she was going to be GREAT!
Back to a time when gratitude and giving was evolving into being what made me/us different, I thought to myself, how could I do something fun, not overspend and say thank you for the incredible support? Having left a team, taken the initial leaf of faith and blessed to have celebrated several successful years on my own, I wanted to say thank you. Christmas at the office with Santa, professional photographer, face painters, treats and no Santa line up at the Mall just made perfect sense. And everyone went home with their own picture of Santa. Bonus! Unfortunately AND fortunately, we quickly outgrew the office and needed a much larger venue. What will I/we think of next...