Stress-free kids birthdays

In a day and age where employer and employee loyalty is virtually non-existent and unemployment rates are high, I am always happy to see people who have carved out a niche market for themselves as entrepreneurs. Most recently, I held my daughter’s birthday party at “Celebrate your Day your Way Party and Play Centre” where I met David Greer.

Greer started off his party service concept in Desbarats, and soon after opened a location in the Sault. The concept is quite simple: he hosts and plans all of the entertainment for kids’ parties, he decorates the party centre accordingly and the parents simply show up with the kids and a cake (he even provides the plates, cutlery, cups, and napkins).

For all of the time-strapped parents out there, Greer’s solution is an easy one. Choose the party theme, decide if you want him and his wife to make the customized photo invitations or not, pick two or two and a half hours of entertainment, and you’re done! All you have left to do is go order or make the cake.

Themes range from super hero to diva, from oceans to safaris, from Harry Potter to Monster High, and teddy bear teas to wild west adventures. No matter what your girl or boy is into, Greer turns it into a theme and makes it a hit with party-goers. Included in the party package is even a candy loot bag (one less worry for parents).

I’m clearly raving about this service – and it takes a lot to impress me these days.

Let’s face it, no one wants to be the parent who hosts a bad party, and everyone wants to be the parent that has a headache-free, mess-free, stress-free event. Those two don’t usually co-exist, that is unless you leave it to a professional. (Now that he’s done more than 100 parties, I think it is fair to call him a party professional).

What’s even better for parents is that his service is fairly priced. It’s cheaper than most other party options, twice as long, and you don’t have to go somewhere else to eat. He provides a small kitchen area if you want to bring in pizza and for cake-eating time.

He’s converted a house downtown into a play land for parties. The basement is lined with foam pads, and there is a slide built into the wall so that stairs become unnecessary. The ball pit is a nice touch too. It’s not a huge place, but most parties cap out at 14 kids anyhow. (The pricing is actually based on 10 children).

I refer to Greer like he is a one man operation, but behind every great man…is a great woman. His wife coordinates the party bookings and the invitations, and she leaves the party hosting to him.

He’s the creative genius behind making my daughter’s 10th birthday such a great success. He flowed effortlessly between all of the activities itemized in his party binder and the kids had a blast. I sat in the kitchen with two girlfriends and we got a chance to catch up on our lives while we listened to over two hours of giggling, singing, shrieks of laughter, and cheering (many games he sets up as team competitions).

Parents who stay are told that they will be parents who play, but perhaps the dark circles under my eyes made it so that I was only called on to judge a few of the competitions. I couldn’t have otherwise kept up with his level of energy or enthusiasm for long.

Perhaps that’s what struck me the most about the party and play centre service, that he has done what so many career counsellors tell children to do. “Do what you love and the money will follow.” Greer is capitalizing on fun and I say all the power to him.

Greer says he has yet to advertise and that makes sense. Word of mouth is all a business like his needs. One party done right is 10 plus referrals..and so on. That’s how I ended up having my daughter’s party there, as she had previously attended another girl’s birthday earlier this year.

I left the party smiling, and my daughter was beaming from ear-to-ear. She said to me: “That was extraordinary, mommy!” Go to his Facebook page and you’ll see dozens of equally glowing reviews for all kinds or cool-themed parties.

Greer has two locations that do both birthday parties and school trips. I would expect that his place in Desbarats, with outdoor play space, will quickly become a fan-favourite for end of the year class parties to make the teacher who books them the “Best teacher ever!”

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