Susan Lacek used to look out the window of her office space above the former Java Jacks at 46th & Bryant and look longingly at the building across the street.
Now, she owns that building, the longtime home of Sandra Mangel Interior Design and Two’s Company, and has transformed it into Harriet Place, Southwest’s newest event venue.
Lacek, a 20-year resident of East Harriet, reached out to Mangel last year about buying the property and Mangel told her she wanted the space to be something the community would value.
Lacek’s tried to take that to heart. After some renovations in the summer and fall of 2018, she began renting out the space for events in late February of 2019.
Harriet Place gathered attention quickly from neighbors, with early patrons telling her they noticed the renovations when walking their dogs. But Lacek saw business pick up when a couple of Minneapolis influencer-types posted from the venue while attending baby or bridal showers, and they have now gotten several bookings straight through Instagram. She said she’s hosting about 15 events per month.
“We’ve had a little bit of everything happen here,” she said.
On Tuesday nights the venue hosts a meditation class. It has hosted baby and bridal showers, screened a documentary and been the site of several daylong business meetings and group happy hours.
Inside the venue there’s room for groups ranging in size from 10 to 50, depending on the nature of the gathering. Her ideal group is between 20–40 guests, she said. Lacek is planning to build out the patio with outdoor seating for about 36 others. She sees the venue as a place for people to host the type of events they’d try to have at home, without having the stress of preparing for and cleaning the mess.
Lacek added modern elements to the building, like a conference room with large monitors for all-day meetings, a hall closet transformed to a cell phone room for people to make private calls and a galley kitchen for caterers. Walls were knocked down to open the space.
But she didn’t change everything, opting to leave in several elements like the old checkout desk from Two’s Company.
“I really love some of the old character of the place,” Lacek said.
Lacek said she wants the space to be a gathering place for the community. Her list of preferred caterers is full of local restaurants like Café Ena and Broder’s Pasta Bar.
“I’m so lucky with this space to have so many great places nearby,” she said.
4601 Bryant Ave. S.