S1 E9 | The Gathering Spot
“No Sleeping in the Trophy Room” is REVOLT’s digital series hosted by Carlos Del Valle. This sit-down style show is a conversation series fueled by motivation, experience and truth, where Del Valle interviews successful individuals across different industries.
In Atlanta, The Gathering Spot has epitomized its very name, serving as the preferred locale of hosting some of the city’s most prestigious events, while its membership vault of professionals hosts some of the city’s most exciting entrepreneurs and creative minds. In the equalizing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, TGS has not found itself immune to the immense side effects that have brought a halt to the operations of its membership club and restaurant. While the complete dismantling of a physical community would seem to put a hold on any growth within a co-working space that hosted about 2,400 events last year alone; founders Ryan Wilson and T.K. Petersen are more than optimistic about the opportunities that the new normal has bestowed upon them. But first, the duo had to make sure that their immediate community was taken care of.
”We wanted to make sure that we took care of our employees first and foremost,” said Petersen, as the duo sat down for another quarantine edition of REVOLT’s “No Sleeping In The Trophy Room” series.
The first step the company took was in giving away all of their perishable foods from their restaurant to employees before opting to donate to outside organizations. In addition to that, they’ve taken initiative to allow their team members of nearly 100 to come in and grab meals every week.
As for the actual operations of their business, like many entrepreneurs, Wilson and Petersen have taken their work home with them as they adjust to new ways of doing business.
”We’ve pivoted to building community online,” said Wilson.
Already, The Gathering Spot has recorded up to 30 pieces of content exclusively for their member network, per its founders.
”We’re not in the space business, we’re in the community business,” Wilson added.
The secret to growth during these times — they reason — is to accept the new realities, keep a calm head, and keep your eyes on the prize. Peterson cites paying attention to official news sources and not falling prey to the rumors swirling around the COVID-19 outbreak.
”It’s unfortunate that that’s how we react when there’s mass hysteria,” Peterson remarked in reference to viral clips of fights in grocery stores and aisles of essentials wiped out on a daily basis at major retailers despite retailers’ assurance that there is no shortage in supplies. “People get panicked and don’t read into all the details.”
”You can find anything you want on the internet if you look for it hard enough,” Wilson added in cool-headed support.
What he did agree on is the fact that the amount of individuals caving into hysterics is more frighteningly outweighed by the number of people who are not taking Coronavirus seriously, referencing the worldwide shutdowns of industry titans as an all-too-obvious sign that COVID-19 is a serious risk to public health. For the pair, focusing on the things that you can control is the remedy to anxiety in this climate.
”[We’re] just trying to stay focused on how to create value for the business,” he said. “How to weather the storm the best way.”
Wilson continued the argument by suggesting that there is no better time than now to truly buckle down and focus on your business goals, save for the negative and devastating impacts of the virus. He went on to note that while many are using this as downtime, and rightfully so, there is an opportunity to capitalize on the luxury of time.
”Instead of it just being all negative, what other time period am I going to have weeks of just planning in real deep thought about things I want to execute… this is time to pick up the pace, but do it in a way that’s thoughtful,” he said.
As for the lighter causes that Wilson and Petersen have used to stay occupied, they both cite The Weeknd’s latest arrival and Jay Electronica’s debut as selections in their quarantine catalog. All the while, they’re pushing themselves to stay the course.
”Stay busy, stay working,” reminds Petersen. “This is not the time to think this is a pandemic-sanctioned vacation… it’s all about your perspective. Try to see it from the most productive perspective you can see it from.”
From Wilson, we gather one fitting metaphor: “We gotta approach this like this is our first album. It’s got to be the same energy that you put in when you were hungry for it the first time around.”