What's the secret to a successful restaurant, store, apartment complex, you name it?
Conventional wisdom used to be the trio of "Location. Location, Location."
No more. Put simply, the trio is now "You. Me. Them."
Or put another, more obscure reference way, like the secret to Soylent Green...it's people.
People go where people go. It's that elementary to explain...and inversely, that difficult to ensure.
This pre-and-post Gala show encounter spot has been moved to the ground level of Place Des Arts, just outside the main entrance of its main theater. Last week on Thursday night--opening night--it looked just what it was: a cold, stark underground room, albeit well-equipped and funkily designed. Atop this post is a picture that shows it in final stages of construction, but not far from the reality of Thursday.
Given that passes to the Charlot Club are traditionally some of Just For Laughs most valuable assets, the barrenness of the lieu was puzzling, and alarming.
A late-night meeting and all-hands-on-deck push the next day rectified matters somewhat, as the photo below will attest. In the space of a week, it went from a troubling desert to a welcoming oasis (so welcoming that I am currently composing this post there, sipping wine on a late Friday night).
The major change? People.
I see the same thing in our clubs, theaters, and especially outdoors in our street events. People beget people. People laugh harder, smile more, drink more, spend more and generally enjoy more when in the company of others.
All this reminds me of a great Yogi Berra line that sums up the relationship between people and success so brilliantly. Asked about Ruggeri's, a popular St. Louis restaurant during his playing days, Berra said:
"Nobody goes there anymore.
It's too crowded."
Berraisms aside, if I owned a restaurant, the best marketing I could probably do is hire a gaggle of film/TV extras to populate my place in the downtimes...to ensure uptimes ahead.
So the lesson this week?
We have an incestuous relationship with each other.
People attract people.
Everything else pales in comparison.