Today we’d like to introduce you to Crystal Hutchinson and Sharina Moore.
Crystal and Sharina, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Crystal: Born and raised in Georgia. My niche for planning and design started in my 20’s and blossomed over the years. I attended Georgia State University and graduated with a B.A. in Speech and minor in Hospitality. While in school, I immediately begin looking for planning careers in the hospitality industry. I ended up working with Celebrity Hairstylist Deedy Wales as her office administrator and video hair assistant. I would share my dreams with her and many others who would come to the shop to get their hair done. Long story short, Carolyn Brown, another special lady in this story introduced me to Christie Williams owner of Niq Williams Events. I was hired on and the rest was history. My background is sales. So I knew if I could get a space it would only go up from there.
Sharina: Everyone wants to find a career that’s rewarding and worthwhile. Becoming an educator was just that for me. After earning a B.A. in Mathematics and a Master’s in Mathematics Secondary School Teaching from Georgia State University, I started my career as a high school mathematics teacher in 2008. But in order to obtain my ultimate goal of being my own boss in order to build generational wealth, a teacher salary was not enough. A few friends and I would meet at my house, make drinks, and brainstorm ideas and business ventures. Sometimes we did more drinking than talking business lol but the idea of bartending school came up. I enjoyed creating cocktails and bartenders seemed to make good money so why not? So I enrolled in an online bartending certification program and received my Mixologist certification. My first bartending gig was a graduation party for a friend and I absolutely loved it; seeing people’s reaction as they enjoyed a cocktail made by yours truly and just seeing people have a good time and enjoy life made me happy. It brought back fond memories from my childhood of the many social gatherings at my parent’s house where family and friends came together for good drinks, good food, and good times. My hobby became a passion and I opened up Forever Moore Entertainment in 2015, a mobile bartending and events company. I partnered up with venues and planners and traveled throughout Georgia, Florida and Alabama bartending different events. With the knowledge I learned as a vendor and the connections that I made networking within the hospitality industry, I started working towards my next business venture: becoming a venue owner.
Sharina met Crystal through a mutual friend and they immediately connected. In September 2018, after chatting at a friend’s birthday party about business and future dreams and aspirations, they realized that they shared a common goal. They had a business meeting a few days later and decided to put their knowledge and expertise together and become business partners. The search for a location to open their very own venue began.
Has it been a smooth road?
Absolutely not! Lol Our first struggle was deciding on a name and logo for the venue. We spent countless days and weeks trying to decide on a name and logo (that was not already taken) that we both liked and fit the type of venue we envisioned opening
In February 2019, Crystal found out that she was pregnant. We questioned whether or not it was the best time to open up a venue as starting a brand new business and expanding a family at the same time could be very difficult and stressful. But with prayer and the love and support of our family and friends, we decided that 2019 was our year that we became venue owners.
But our biggest road block was finding a location for Grand Gala Venue. The location can make or break a business so finding the perfect location was very important. Our wonderful realtor, Lexi Turner, who I’m sure we bugged like crazy lol was very patient with us during this process. We searched all over Atlanta and its surrounding areas looking for the perfect spot. In March 2019, we thought had hit the jackpot and signed a contract for a space in Stockbridge. Despite the amount of time, energy and money we invested, the City of Stockbridge denied our business license.
Although slightly defeated, our family and friends continued to offer words of encouragement and our search for the perfect location for Grand Gala Venue continued. Although Marietta was not the ideal location due to the distance from our homes and jobs, we were impressed with the stand-alone building with an open space layout and ample parking that Lexi showed us. So we took a chance a signed a contract in October 2019 and our business license was approved in December 2019.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Grand Gala Venue story. Tell us more about the business.
Grand Gala Venue is a blank canvas that provides the perfect setting for you to dream, inspire, and celebrate life’s greatest moments. From intimate weddings to family reunions, over-the-top birthday parties to graduation parties, holiday socials to corporate events, we will make sure to tailor every last detail to meet your needs and vision. Our team and vendors can turn any occasion into a unique and magical celebration. Although Grand Gala Venue is a full-service venue, we welcome outside vendors to ensure that our clients’ budgetary needs are met. Any event hosted at Grand Gala Venue is sure to be talked about for years to come.
What are your plans for the future? What are you looking forward to or planning for – any big changes?
Having multiple locations of Grand Gala Venue in stand-alone buildings in which we can own, instead of rent, is our ultimate goal to help us provide generational wealth for our families.
- Regular price is $100/hr
- Mon-Thur $150/hr Fri-Sun (excluding holiday, special priced)
- Address: 1686 Roswell Road B1 Marietta, GA 30062
- Website: www.grandgalavenue.com
- Phone: 470-261-3772
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @grandgalavenue
- Facebook: @grandgalavenue
(The Glow Party) Fotos by Fola, Designer: Niq Williams Events, Sponsors: Garnet O’Connor, Luxury Lounge Atl, I Do Linens, Soiree Catering, Bunnee Studios, Rim the Artist, Ashley Blessed Brownies, Premiere Entertainment, Forever Moore Ent., Jermaniac, Bomadevodka, Band: No D Percussion, (Grand Opening) J.B. Griffin Photography & Videography, Designer: Crystal with Niq Williams Events, Sponsors: Balloons-Posh Blooming Creations & Balloons by Chevy, Phenomenal Food by Chef Holly, Cakes by Lameeka, Luxury Lounge and Lighting, The Event Guys, Mr. Up Lights, Majesty, Posh Premium Ale, Indulge Celebration Rental, Wild Creek Distillery, Bunnee Studios, DJ 4 Free, (Minnie Mouse party) Designer: Beautiful World of Events