Over the past few months, we posted an open invitation for anyone to visit our office, enjoy a beer, and talk about books every Friday afternoon. We called it Book & Brew, and exactly two people accepted our offer (one of which thought we were a library). Clearly, our marketing for Book & Brew missed the mark, so we recalibrated to invigorate the event with a clearer value to the community.
What started as a casual Friday hangout became a more structured monthly meet and greet, where we ask local small business owners to share their company’s story. Business owners pair their stories with books that inspired them along the way.
Our first monthly Book & Brew featured Riley Vannoy of Noble Wave, an up-and-coming local brewpub, and Emery of Eye Spy Escape Rooms, Baton Rouge’s newest escape room experience.
Riley: Noble Wave
Riley began Noble Wave in his garage with friends, an origin story shared by many of the most successful companies in the U.S. They are in the planning stages of opening their own brewpub and pizzeria. The group has been shaping and defining their flavor profiles, pairing their beer recipes with different pizza crusts and sauces.
Book & Brew attendees had the chance to try Noble Wave’s milk stout while hearing Riley’s vision for his company. His unique business model may very well change the way the service industry operates. Instead of paying his employees a low wage and making them work for tips to make up the difference, Riley plans to pay his employees a salary. A large percentage of tips earned will serve a more Noble purpose: funding an in-house charity focused on giving back to the Baton Rouge community.
Emery: Eye Spy Escape Rooms
Emery created Eye Spy Escape Rooms out of curiosity, and because she found more fulfillment in running her own business. Since escape rooms are a fairly new attraction, both to Baton Rouge and nationally, the opportunities to create new and inventive scenarios are wide open. Emery visited other escape rooms to educate herself on how to operate and design a successful room. One of the escape rooms she visited, WW3: The Conspiracy Theory, impressed her so much that she approached the owners about buying the design. Her next attraction will be a Sherlock Holmes-themed experience.
The escape rooms are great for groups of friends, but Emery suggests the rooms to managers and business owners as team building exercises. Groups of up to six people can experience each room, with sixty minutes to solve the puzzles in order to escape. Clues range from the arrangement of books by size on a shelf, to the order of colors in a set of knickknacks. It takes communication, problem solving, and critical thinking skills to get through – and with the clock ticking, working together is the only way to escape on time.
A few Book & Brew attendees had the chance to experience the Casino Heist for free.
What we learned.
Although we always intended to gather people together in our office for energizing conversations, we weren’t very clear in our initial positioning, and the turnout fell flat. Ultimately, we focused on connecting people who might not normally meet, in hopes that cool new ideas result. After a little repositioning and some creative messaging, we received a huge turnout, and met our goal of connecting Baton Rouge individuals from a variety of backgrounds. From Abe Felix, co-founder of the altBR podcast, to Sarah Bransford creator of the summer program Kid Possible, and Claudie Fanning, director of marketing strategy at LA Tech Park, the crowd was full of smiles and the energy was contagious.
For those who attended, we appreciate your participation and feedback. We couldn’t be more grateful for the support.
Volume 2 Coming Soon:
Check out our Eventbrite invitation for more details. We hope to see you there.