As wallets tightened and jobs evaporated, people turned away from some of the consumerism that drove them in the pre-recession era.
"Most of us have more than we need because we've been so consumer-oriented with things. And I think now we're looking at, 'Wait a second! What do we really value?' " said Patti Klainot, owner of Jaunt Events and Excursions.
For a growing number of people, the value has been found in making memories - even if that means paying someone, like Klainot, to help construct them.
It's a business Klainot dreamed up as she looked for an alternative to her career as a certified occupational therapy assistant.
"What I came up with is what I had been doing - and not even realizing - and that was special event management," Klainot said.
As a co-creator of the Village Green Street Fair and volunteer for Diva Night with the Wauwatosa Business Improvement District, Klainot had years of experience organizing large-scale events in the village. She also had experience with business events, planning day trips for a retirement community and co-producing a travel program for about 20 years for her husband's company.
"I really just enjoy helping people create memories," Klainot said. "I thought the only deficit I had was I really wanted some education behind me."
So, she spent two years at Milwaukee Area Technical College, formally studying event management while working her full-time job, plus a part-time gig. Last year, she started Jaunt Events and Excursions, a name she hoped would embody the spirit of her business.
"Jaunt means journey and expedition and frolic. Our life is an adventure. Everything we do in our lives is a journey. And events tie that all together," Klainot said.
So far, she has done everything from planning weddings to organizing a health fair for a local chiropractor. In the future, Klainot hopes to delve into culinary events and cultural tourism, perhaps working with the Wolf River Council on Tourism to share the culture of a Native American tribe in Crandon, or creating tours of German neighborhoods in Chicago, where people could shop the markets for ethnic food and hear the native language.
"It's not just a drive-by; it's experiencing that culture," Klainot explained. "… It's memorable and so much more rewarding than a thing you leave behind."
JUST THE FACTS
BUSINESS: Jaunt Events and Excursions
ADDRESS: 1843 Church St.
PHONE: (414) 258-1185
OWNER: Patti Klainot
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