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Prescheduled Recurring club meet-ups in Florida

Discussion in 'Florida' started by Larry Chanin, Nov 23, 2014.

  1. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    #1 Larry Chanin, Nov 23, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2014
    At our last club event club member Alex suggested that we pursue the idea of prescheduled, recurring local meet-ups. The concept would be that once a month there would be a standing tentative meet-up at a restaurant that local members could periodically attend as their schedules permitted. These types of events would be geared for smaller, localized groups and would fill in between the larger, regional or statewide events that I assist in organizing.

    A good example of this sort of thing is the recurring duPont Registry Cars and Coffee events in Saint Petersburg that is scheduled for every third Saturday. A number of our club members in the greater Tampa area use the Tesla Motors Club (TMC) forum to notify other nearby members that they intend to attend a particular DuPont event. They meet at the DuPont location and afterwards they get together for breakfast at a nearby restaurant.

    I would like to invite further discussion and suggestions regarding these types of local events. Do you have any suggestions for an event or location convenient to you that you would like to periodically meet with other nearby club members? The meet-ups could be at a city or county level and not necessarily extended to entire club regions, which as you know, are rather large.

    The notification need not be just via TMC. You could also do local email invitations to members which would be more effective in promoting attendance.

    By way of example to get the discussion rolling, let me suggest an idea for the Sarasota-Bradenton area. As many of you know the University Town Center Mall (UTC) opened in October. It’s a very nice mall that has a large Tesla Store, 16 public chargers, four of which are High Power Wall Connectors (HPWCs), and a number of great restaurants. For example, the Kona Grill is an indoor/outdoor restaurant that has excellent food and is right in front of 8 of the chargers (four of which are the HPWCs). We could have a standing tentative schedule to meet at the Kona on say the second Saturday of every month at noon. Or I might be able to reserve a room at the Capitol Grill for this sort of recurring event. I could send out an emailing to our Sarasota-Bradenton members. How does that sound to you? Obviously, other members outside of the Sarasota-Bradenton area would be welcome as would local non-club members reading this posting.

    Does anyone have any additional suggestions, or is anyone willing to initiate a similar recurring local meet-up in their area?

    Thanks.

    Larry
     
  2. Kutu

    Kutu Member

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    The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance would be a great time for a meet-up. I've noticed a number of members that attend each year. It is scheduled for March 13-15 in 2015.
     
  3. Science->Truth

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    Thanks for getting this discussion thread started. I think the basic idea of a default meet-up place and time is excellent. The mall idea Larry suggests is surely a good spot, given the charge points available.
    My idea is to make it such that it requires little to no work on the part of organizers once its up and running, and little effort for anyone to join whenever they want, as well as no need for any formal commitments to attend at any given time. Thus, I'm picking up from Oldenberg's interesting book called "The Great Good Place." A comfortable time and place for friends to regularly hang out and see each other and catch up. In keeping with that model, I would suggest something like finding a good happy hour spot, a bar with an adjacent restaurant, and just designating a set day and time monthly. Anyone who wants to come then just shows up. Some months might be couple dozen folks arrive, other months just a few. Some folks might just stop by for a beverage or two and then head out to some other commitments, and others might stay longer and impromptu decide to get a table in the restaurant and stay for dinner together. Larry's suggestion is a bit more formal, and would require some kind of sign-up or commitment if he or someone were to organize a lunch or dinner requiring a reservation. My informal idea of course has risks, such that nobody shows up. Or somebody shows up, finds no Tesla Enthusiasts there, and departs, and 30 min later another Tesla person shows up, sees nobody there, departs, etc. Thus, the place should be a public fun spot to go, such that if you show up and no other Tesla Enthusiasts are there yet, it still is an active place with a substantial number of other folks around, so its a fun stop regardless (in contrast to showing up to an empty place, which would obviously not work). In my thinking, as long as at least two or three Enthusiasts show up, it would be a success. All it would take to find them in a larger crowd is wearing our Enthusiast shirts, or a Tesla hat, etc.

    So, maybe we can get a poll started on the key decision dimensions:'

    1) How many times per year do you think you would show up for such an event?
    2) Would you prefer it a) morning breakfast/coffee (7-9am), b) lunch (11-2) , c) social/happy hour (5-7pm), d) dinner (7-9pm), e) no preference
    3) What day of week works best a) Thursday b) Friday c) Saturday d) Sunday, e) no preference
    4) What week of the month works best a) first, b)second, c) third, d) fourth e) no preference
    5) Any suggested locations (specify whether works best for breakfast/lunch/happy hour/dinner)? ________________
     
  4. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    #4 Larry Chanin, Nov 24, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2014
    Hi Rusty,

    Thanks for the response.

    The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance is of course a great annual event. However, the concept that Alex is putting forth is a recurring, perhaps monthly local event. If there is interest perhaps a local Northeast group might regularly visit the Ritz Carlton where the Concours event is held.

    Going off-topic for a minute, if the club were to pursue organizing a state-wide event at the Concours d'Elegance there are some logistical challenges. First, there are virtually no public chargers in the area, and no overnight destination charging. Local RV parks are usually booked solid for this event, but that is the only available overnight charging. This year the Concours event is in direct competition with the Formula E race in Miami on the same day. (If someone happens to have the contact information for an executive at the Ritz Carlton Amelia Island I could attempt to see if Tesla would donate a couple of HPWCs. Of course even if the Ritz had some charging equipment that would likely be insufficient to handle a group of Model Ss.

    Larry
     
  5. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    Thanks again for pursuing this excellent idea.

    My thoughts are not to be formal per se, but there are some logistical issues that should be addressed, at least initially to make this an enjoyable experience.

    As a scientist you appreciate the concept of Inertia. :wink: It has been my experience that realistically it requires an organizer to overcome Inertia to get things started. Once things have been put into motion, as you point out, it is easier to keep things moving. Without someone initially willing to make a few contacts, obtain a rough headcount, and do some minimal coordination with the meeting place, we run a risk of inconveniencing the participants.

    These are all excellent questions that should be addressed. However, there is no right answer that fits all groups. Each local group should answer these questions as it pertains to their local situation and what is most convenient for the members of their specific local group. Of course even to answer these questions requires a level of "formality" for someone to take the initiative to ask, receive answers and communicate the results to the local group.

    For example, in my proposal above I suggested two restaurants at UTC for lunch once a month on a Saturday afternoon. What I am hoping is that I will receive some feedback from those living in the Sarasota-Bradenton area at what works best for the majority that are interested in meeting periodically.

    Realistically it is not likely that I will receive a sufficient level of response by merely relying on those local club members who occasionally visit TMC. If I am serious about pursing a regular local meet-up I'm going to have to send an email communication to locals.

    To truly explore this concept with the membership I believe will require a mass mailing to solicit responses.

    Larry
     
  6. Kutu

    Kutu Member

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    While there are currently no destination chargers that I know of on Amelia Island, Amelia Island is well within reach of a round-trip from Lake City (90 miles) or St. Augustine (70 miles)- you just have to keep the local driving down or check with one of the local Tesla owners. I don't have a lot of connections here, but I'll do some checking around.
     
  7. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    Hi Rusty,

    Thanks, but in my opinion those round trip distances are still too far to lend themselves to a major club event. If my memory serves we have two local members in the immediate area, but again that would be insufficient for a major event.

    Returning to Alex's concept it would be great if you were able to come up with a regular meeting place that would be convenient to the club members in the Northeast Region.

    Larry
     
  8. Kutu

    Kutu Member

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    Larry,
    Good points. Do you have any estimates as to how many owners would attend a club event? I know any answer is just a WAG at best.
    Rusty
     
  9. joer00

    joer00 Member

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    Why not meet once a month at the Brandon SC. There is a small Italian restaurant next to the cinema and I had a talk with the owner, great guy into REAL food (healthy etc). He tries to get away from his "next to the cinema" image and I am sure would love to have us there.
     
  10. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    #10 Larry Chanin, Nov 24, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2014
    Hi Rusty,

    It always difficult to estimate the level of interest. Since these proposed events are at the local level its even more difficult to estimate.

    We have about 130 families in the Southwest Region and another 130 families in the Southeast Region. There are about 60 families in the Central Region, about 20 in the Northeast Region and 8 in the Panhandle. The Northeast and Panhandle have a low density of members spread over a large geographical area. So for those regions it is more difficult to meet in numbers than the other regions.

    For our well-advertised state-wide and Regional events our last two events were very well-attended. We had over 40 people at our Club Med event in Port Saint Lucie and over 40 people to our Sarasota event.

    Next month one of our members is having an informal dinner party at his home for the first 15 couples in the Southeast Region that RSVP to his invitation. His party, although not a recurring event, is along the lines of what we are discussing, a local event. So far 8 people have responded with a "Yes" RSVP.

    Before that we had a couple in the Southeast Region who volunteered to host a meet-up and cocktail reception at their place of business to be followed with dinner at a nearby restaurant. Despite being well-advertised that event had to be cancelled due to a lack of responses.

    Our next Regional or state-wide event is next month. Its a meet-up at a restaurant near the Ocala Supercharger. So far we have 24 "Yeses" and 15 "Maybes".

    So you can see there is a wide spread in the level of interest. For a small, informal local meet-up I would guess a typical event might have a dozen people. It is likely the initial meet-up would be well-attended, and then there would be a drop off. As I was discussing with Alex, I am of the opinion that any event, even a small local event, needs an occasional injection of energy by an organizer to get things moving.

    Larry

    - - - Updated - - -

    Hi Joe,

    Thanks for the response.

    The Brandon Supercharger is a natural location for recurring meet-ups for people in the Tampa area. There are a number of restaurants. The Corner Bakery Cafe is close to the Supercharger and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and could handle a small group of say 6 people.

    What is the name of the Italian restaurant? How large of a group can it accommodate? Being located at a Supercharger means that more club members from greater distances can conveniently attend an event. So we might have to be prepared for a moderately sized turnout.

    Larry
     
  11. Science->Truth

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    Larry, I agree we need to overcome inertia to get something moving, and agree my idea for this is local (hour or less drive). And, just to be clear, I wouldn't want a regular local meet up spot to replace the more organized great regional or statewide events we are having.

    Now, to a local meet up for Sarasota area. Returning to your suggestion of monthly lunch at the Sarasota mall off 75; I would attend as many as I could, probably 40-50%, if this were the designated time and place. Its a great idea/plan. I would prefer a happy hour time slot, mostly because I find restaurants tend to rush through food service, and then everyone feels they need to depart. Given our normal work lives are so frantic, I prefer time for a beer and conversation standing and walking around, followed (optionally) by leisurely slow-food dinner. In terms of location, what do you (and everyone) think of monthly happy hour at Salty Dog on Longboat Key? Nice location on the water. 3 charge points in walking distance. Casual food for those who want to eat.

    - - - Updated - - -

    A good suggestion, esp if the food is good, not just the chain stuff. I like real food. I would not be able to go every month, but would attend a few times per year.
     
  12. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    #12 Larry Chanin, Nov 25, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2014
    Hi Alex,

    I think that a happy hour followed by the option to have dinner makes sense. However, it should be pointed out that this may limit us to Friday late afternoon - evenings. For example, the Kona Grill that I suggested has a happy hour from 3:00pm to 7:00pm on Fridays. I am not aware of many places that have a happy hour on Saturdays. Some places have "reverse" happy hours where late in the evening the drink prices are less.

    Personally I would try to attend any place most members would prefer that was within an hour's drive. However, I have to be honest I'm not a big fan of the Salty Dog. It's entirely outdoors and I doubt I could pursuade my wife to join us there. It's not really a place to go to eat. Saint Armands Circle is not far from the Salty Dog and it would provide more options in terms of food and accommodations for larger groups, if needed.

    Larry
     
  13. aviators99

    aviators99 Model S - R140

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    I'm just curious why you wouldn't use the club private group for this? Or are you talking about meetings open to the public?
     
  14. MS4tennis

    MS4tennis Member

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    I have enjoyed the few Tesla group activities that I have attended. The UTC mall would make a great meet up site, but I would suggest avoiding the mall for social functions until the holiday shopping frenzy is over. I would likely attend 50% or more of the gatherings that are held in the Sarasota/Manatee area.
     
  15. Science->Truth

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    I like the idea of Kona happy hour on Fridays. Could be excellent place, esp after the holiday mall shopping crush is past, as mstennis points out. Esp if being right off 75 makes it likely we get more members showing up fairly regularly. Ok, you make valid points about Salty Dog. Your idea of some place at St. Armands could also be really great. Shore Diner has good food, but is very loud inside. We could search options there.
     
  16. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    Hi Ron,

    I'm glad that you asked.

    We would like non-members or former members to be able to see what events we have in mind so that they can participate in the discussions and hopefully will be encouraged to join or rejoin.

    Also the private discussion group has less traffic and we want to encourage as much discussion as possible.

    Following the feedback we receive here I wil be sending out a mass mailing to the membership soliciting their input and directing them to this thread.

    For these types of events we have no problem with non-members joining us. For our more elaborate events, for instance the Club Med Sandpiper Bay Weekend Get Away, we want to confine it to members and their guests.

    I welcome any suggestions that you or other non-members may have.

    Larry

    - - - Updated - - -

    Hi Randy,

    Thanks for your response.

    Yes, any of these local meet-ups probably should wait until next year before kicking off.

    For the Sarasota/Manatee area do you have a preference regarding a day or time. That is Friday at happy hour at the Kona Grill, or Saturday for lunch at the Kona Grill, or Lunch in a private room at the Capitol Grill? Or another restaurant at UTC?

    By the way, I spoke to the manager at the Kona yesterday. She would try to accommodate such recurring meet-ups by allowing us to rearrange a couple of tables when we arrive. They don't take reservations and they wouldn't want say two members showing up and reserving tables for 10 people that weren't there.

    If we opted for reserving a room at the Capital Grill, arrangements would have to be a bit more organized. To get a head count for reserving the appropriate sized room I would have to send out an evite invitation and require RSVPs.

    Although we would want to try to lock in a prescheduled day of the month, we could always explore rotating the location within the group area to make it more convenient for some members.

    Larry
     
  17. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    Hi Alex,

    As I mentioned the Kona has indoor and outdoor dining. It has a very cool bar in which half of it is indoors and half outdoors. It also has a separate Sushi bar. If we pursue a happy hour meet-up I would recommend announcing that the meet-up would start at 4:00 pm and go as late as 7:00 pm. Members could show up at any time within that window, but there would be no guarantee of being able to sit together. As you suggest they could come early just for drinks or stay for dinner.

    Larry
     
  18. MS4tennis

    MS4tennis Member

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    Larry,
    I think we should try a Saturday lunch and a Friday Happy Hour and see what kind of turn out we get. I would attend either and would hope to see members from all around Sarasota and Manatee participate. I aso think your idea for meeting at the Kona Grill is convenient for many of us.
     
  19. Science->Truth

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    Sounds really nice. We should give it a try.
     
  20. Brightonuk

    Brightonuk Member

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    Does that not negate the whole idea of a "meetup"?
     

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