Inside Their New Dog-Friendly Office
By The Get Leashed Doggy Style Team
Not all offices are created equal. Imagine our delight when we were invited to a Cinco de Mayo celebration that not only included margaritas, but also mini sombreros for the office dogs! Well, when a company’s Director has two miniature Schnauzers, that’s the first step in creating a dog-friendly culture. Eatertainment has been keeping Toronto well fed and entertained since 1981. As a family-owned-and-operated company, they know how to work hard and also how to reward their loyal team, which includes canines. Read on as we get to know the pups and people of Eatertainment and tour their recently redesigned space.
Please tell us about what your company does, and what a typical day in the office is like:
We are an event & catering agency that executes hundreds of events per year from weddings to large corporate galas, product launches & office catering. We also own and manage a restaurant, The One Eighty, www.the51stfloor.com that is also an event venue and 5 Brock Events aka Only One Gallery www.5brockavenue.com a gallery off Queen Street West in Parkdale. A typical day could include client meetings, a menu tasting with a bride & groom, a food photoshoot in our test kitchen, a sample tablescape being created for reference imagery, Event Managers coming and going to and from site visits, or perhaps even a game of ping pong in the boardroom!
Your new space is absolutely stunning! Can you tell us about the design choices made? How would you describe the style and vibe of the office?
We had been looking for space where we could reflect our brand and our event style. When we originally saw the space there were drop ceilings, 20 year old beige hardwood, and lots of other really ugly stuff, but like many of our events we could visualize how it could look. It was really important to us to have high ceilings for the loft-feel and to give the space a contemporary feel, but we also wanted the space to be warm, not clinical. The grey floors, black steel window frames, furniture and the natural lights we selected for the tracks all helped soften the space while still keeping it modern and clean. We choose extra tall glass partitions with no horizontal slates to accentuate the height and make the space feel even bigger. The style of the office we were going for was ‘effortlessly cool’ – what we meant by this is we wanted the space to be cool and stylish but not to look like we were trying too hard. This is always a difficult balance and we often struggle with this same challenge when designing our events. We are a young team who work a LOT of hours and really love what we do. We work hard, we play hard and we are passionate. The vibe in our office we think reflects this balance between style and comfort.
We have fallen in love with Sebastien Centner’s (Director) Schnauzer girls, Lily and Lola. Who are the other pups who typically come into the office?
Our Marketing & PR Manager Suzanne Dunbar brings in her Mini Australian Shepherds Bailey, who’s a 7 year old blue merle & Charlie who’s a one year old red merle. Event Manager Janis Yiu often brings in her cute 2 year old long-haired Dachshund Goku. Our Operations Director Jackie Brown has 3 rescues: Molly, a Jack Russell, Golden Retriever Cross (vet’s guess) Phoebe, mostly lab (not sure what else) & George, a lab, hound, Border Collie cross (again vet’s guess).
We’ve heard one of the well-loved pups has an incredible rescue story. Can you share this with our readers?
[Jackie Brown talking about Molly] We were in Miami and every day we would go down to the beach, on route we would pass a group of homeless people that had this cute little dog. Each day I would stop and say hello to the dog; she didn’t seem to be in great shape, she was skinny, lethargic, didn’t have a lot of fur and was always scratching (her name was Molly). I offered the homeless man $100 for his dog but he declined. Not sure what it was but I was really drawn to Molly. The day before we were leaving, we were sitting on the balcony and noticed a commotion at the beach, the police were arresting most of the homeless people that had been hanging around the beach. I thought “Oh my, what’s happening to Molly?” Mark and I ran down to the beach to find her. The homeless guy had left her with this really drunk guy, so we walked up to him and asked for Molly, who he gladly handed over. We gave her a bath because she smelled really bad and then headed over to the local vet. It turned out that Molly had worms, a rash on face, was severely underweight, dehydrated, had fleas, and had some sort of parasite. The vet said had she not received treatment she would have died slowly from the inside out. I don’t know why I felt such an attachment to this dog but I did. We also had 2 other dogs at home at this point already. I convinced Mark we had to take her home as Miami Dade is a high kill shelter, so we got the necessary paperwork, called the airline, went and bought a carrier and the next day, Molly was on a plane with us to Canada. She has never looked back and has turned into this amazing dog with a huge personality.
Has your office always been pet-friendly? Is this important to the culture?
Yes it’s a very inclusive environment and we like to offset our hectic days with a bit of fun, whether that’s grabbing one of our Eatertainment bikes and going for a ride around Leslieville or playing fetch with one of our furry guests!
How do you think being dog-friendly improves or adds to your company?
Although at times they slow down productivity since they’re all so damn irresistible, they put everyone at ease and our clients love coming in to be greeted by them. You can literally see all the seriousness or worry of their day melt away.
Finally, can you leave us with a funny story (or two) about one of the dogs?
Here are couple stories about Lola and Lily relating to the office. Seb has to be careful in the morning when he leaves home not to use the ‘w’ word … ‘work’ since if he does, both dogs run to the front door and start whining and jumping all over him, thinking they are coming to work with him. It has happened at least a couple of times that Seb wasn’t planning on bringing them in, but then seeing how they got so excited, he feels bad not taking them … so along they go. They are also the biggest sucks for attention. From sitting under desks begging at you until you pick them up and let them sit on your laptop, to pawing at you if you ‘dare’ to pick up your phone or try and type on your laptop while they are on your lap!