Happy Birthday to Us!

February 16, 2011

Time flies, doesn’t it?  I used to teach a concept to my JM Hanks high school students that I called “The Spiral of Time.”  Basically, that means that the older one gets, the quicker time seems to pass.  When you are 5 years old, the summer seems to last forever (thanks, Bryan Adams!)  When you talk to your 80 year old grandma, a year flies by like a week.  Why is that?  Think about it as a relative equation…a year is literally ¼ of my son’s life; it’s 1/38 of mine, 1/68 of my father, etc.  Make sense?

Where were you 10 years ago this December?  I was preparing for my daughter’s 5th birthday in Texas, and I was in the second year of running my music promotion business.  City Beach was planning its grand opening at our Fremont location at 4020 Technology Place.  Would it work?  How would people find us?  What would they make of our crazy, hybrid business model?

As we now know, City Beach has been a rousing success.  We have played a part in the lives of so many residents of Fremont and the surrounding areas that it seems that there are very few locals that haven’t been here in some capacity (Family Fun Night, Restaurant, Rock Gym, Kid’s Birthday Party, a Corporate event, etc.)  Through tough times (9/11 and NUMMI’s closing) and good times (the robust mid-2000’s economy and the Silicon Valley tech explosion), City Beach has been a mainstay in the fabric of Fremont’s social network.  We love our regulars, we honor our local residents, and we are proud members of the 4th largest (and most-friendly!) city in the Bay Area.

Throughout 2011, City Beach will be offering special fun stuff for our old and new friends.  If you haven’t been here in awhile, come back and try our new menu and experience our commitment to quality food and service.  If you have always heard about what a cool place City Beach is, then come in and see for yourself!  Play some Bocce Ball on our outdoor patio, bring your kid to a birthday party or come climb the walls (literally) with Marcus and his team of climbers.  Stay tuned to our Facebook page and sign up for our newsletter to keep up with us.

Thanks to Fremont and the Tri-City area for 10 great years, and here’s to another 10!

Quinceaneras at City Beach

January 22, 2011

Bienvenidos a City Beach!

I grew up in Seattle, Washington in the ‘80s.  That far north on the map, there wasn’t exactly an influx of Latino culture in my neck of the woods.  I had a couple friends that were of Hispanic descent (Alvaro Cornejo, where are you now?  Facebook, I would guess!), but my knowledge of the culture and traditions was limited to somewhat watery Mexican cuisine from the local yokel eatery, El Torito.

After graduating from high school, I decided to pursue my higher education outside of the great State of Washington.  I hadn’t seen the sun in about 12 years, so while curriculum was a very important factor in my decision to head to the University of Arizona, of equal importance was the promise of at least 9 months of warmth per year!

I spent a couple years in Tucson and then followed a lovely Mexican-American girl to El Paso, Texas where I eventually got married and settled down, finished college, had babies, and started a business.  Now El Paso is NOT the garden spot of the Desert Southwest by any means, but it does have rich history of Mexican culture and heritage.  The city borders Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, which has been in the news a lot lately for all of the wrong reasons.  In any event, the population of the city is about 80% Hispanic, and the Mexican culture pervades every aspect of life in El Paso–including the special event industry.

As I got into the special event and entertainment business, Quinceanera planning and knowledge (of which I had none) was a prerequisite.  I was fortunate enough to attend some of them, and as I learned about the tradition and the special meaning of Quinces, I began to understand how much fun these “Sweet 15’s” could be.  Mariachis, Food, Tecate, repeat as necessary…I would party long into the night with my wife’s family.  On the border, these events take on special significance, as most families are from Mexico. An El Paso Quince es muy autentico.

Fast forward 10 years to Fremont, California.  As the Director of Sales and Marketing at City Beach, my job is to open up new markets to our business.  Fortunately, we have two incredible Quince locations (Fremont and Santa Clara), and we are now forging headlong into the business of planning these wonderful special events.  From the menu to the décor, service, pricing, and amenities, City Beach is an unbeatable value for your Quinceanera.  We have an elegant and fun atmosphere with many built-in attractions, and our kitchen staff (mostly family, FYI) prepare the most delicious Mexican and American cuisine in the Bay Area.

Are you planning a Sweet 15 party? We’re exhibiting on January 30 at the annual Quinceaneras Magazine Expo from Noon – 5pm at 344 Tully Road in San Jose.  Come find us in the corner booth, get a taste of our great food and chat with us about planning your daughter’s dream Quince.  City Beach is extremely price-competitive and accommodating, and our staff is passionate about planning perfect events.  Your experience with us will be second-to-none, and every client is treated with the utmost respect and commitment to impeccable service.  Se Habla Espanol…see you on the 30th!

2011 for City Beach

December 21, 2010

Greetings, loyal readers (all 27 of you last month!)

It has been a wonderful year in Group Services.  I don’t mind telling you, 2009 was rough.  Like everyone else in the event business, City Beach had a ton of challenges and we were all glad to see the calendar flip to 2010 at the end of ’09!

I came aboard in February of 2010 and was immediately indoctrinated into the City Beach culture.  Under the guidance of some great people, I found my comfort zone  and got into the spirit of “how we do things.”  While it was a bit different than “how I used to do things” in this business, it didn’t take long to grasp the basic concepts I was already familiar with: Integrity, Customer Care, Attention to Detail, and the Aloha Spirit (more on that in the coming weeks).

As the Holiday Season approached, we could clearly see that things were better than the previous year.  Companies seemed to be more willing to spend money on their most valuable assets (EMPLOYEES!) and allowed us to find some creative approaches towards the entertainment side of Holiday Parties.  Our staff spent an exhaustive amount of time conceptualizing the décor for our unique event spaces, and the results were (are) spectacular.  Our new chef, Mr. Mark Laverty, and his staff of trusty cooks made magic in the kitchen and brought the vision of great food, entertainment, and ambience together in style.  Old friends came back, new friends decided to give City Beach a whirl, and I must say most everyone has been thrilled with the results.

As the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, we will be embarking on a slough of new and improved offerings at City Beach.  New team building programs, social offerings, high tech lighting, and a completely new restaurant and catering menu are just some of the fun things you can expect from City Beach next year.  We have an incredible, unique asset in our Indoor Ropes Course that is going to be a part of some new things that we are making more affordable for our corporate and social guests.  There are improvements throughout the building that will enhance the experience of all those that use them.  Through all of these changes, though, one thing will always remain constant:  We love our clients, and we will always strive to make their day better for having spent a few hours in our care.

Thanks to all of you for making City Beach a leader in the Bay Area’s event industry, and we can’t wait to see you again.

Ryan Rosoff
Director of Sales and Marketing
City Beach

Find Your Inner Chef

November 17, 2010

I am one hell of a cook…in my dreams.  Seriously, I make a mean omelet, grilled cheese, and tofu stir fry, but aside from those notable leftover midnight concoctions from my bachelor days, I am pretty much incompetent in the kitchen.  In fact, I routinely burn water!

My wife, Kimberly, is an excellent cook.  About 4 years ago (when she was pregnant with our son and had some time on her hands), we became fans of the cooking competition show Top Chef on the Bravo network.  Never mind that we now watch Man vs. Food, Iron Chef, Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, Top Chef Masters, and a few other random programs–Top Chef became our only must-watch program during the week.

Kimberly watches for the incredible creativity and mostly superior technique, and the show’s many wonderful chefs have proved to be excellent muses for her throughout the last 4 years.  Lucky me!  I watch for the competition, the passion, and the interpersonal drama that one can only find in the best (and very worst) of reality TV.  Ironically, I am a vegetarian, yet I can root for the heartiest pork and fish dishes.  They even look tasty to me a full 15 years after my last bite of flesh!

At City Beach, we have developed a multitude of super-cool team building activities.  My absolute favorite, of course, is called “Extreme Chef.” The experience is equal parts teamwork, creativity, and culinary gymnastics.  The video on our site tells a good part of the story, but you really have to see it to believe it.  Suffice to say, no one leaves hungry or disappointed!  The Extreme Chef program is limited to our Fremont location, and while you don’t have to be a good cook to participate, it helps to watch a little Top Chef before you come in as preparation.  Just don’t touch that hot stove (insert legal disclaimer here!)

Holiday Parties and Sock Puppets.

October 25, 2010

What do you remember about your last Holiday Party?

The last couple years were a blur, but I clearly remember my 2007 party (I was a schoolteacher; we had no budget–creativity was a necessity!)  There was some great food, adult beverages, kibitzing, and while it was a lot of fun, it wasn’t extraordinary…until we rolled out the games.

Now the crew was sufficiently lubricated, so whatever inhibitions existed had been obliterated by about 8 pm.  The 35 of us split into teams of 7, and we were given 15 minutes, a book of classic holiday stories, and some sock puppets.

Yes, sock puppets.

Now this could have gone a number of different ways, but everyone decided to take it seriously and compete for the grand prize (gift certificates to a local bookstore…English Teachers’ paradise!)  My group chose Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas, and we had to adapt a scene from the movie and act it out with our little puppets.  If you’ve seen that movie, you know that there are a number of awesome scenes to choose from.  We went with the “Oogie Boogie vs. Jack the Pumpkin King Battle” towards then end of the film.  Suffice it to say, hilarity ensued.  At one point, I remember Jack slowly unraveling the thread of the Oogie Boogie puppet to reveal a naked twitching hand.  Good times!  I can’t describe what happened next (this is a family blog), but your imagination should get you where you need to go…

We have a version of this at City Beach called A Holiday Story.    I guarantee our version is better than a bunch of teachers in an ad hoc game of puppets…you wouldn’t believe the time and effort that has gone into the production of this event.  It is not your everyday, run-of-the-mill party that you can’t wait to leave…you don’t want to miss your colleagues acting out a scene from one of your favorite holiday flicks.  With a superb, cost-effective menu and fun, not over-the-top cheesy décor, City Beach Holiday Parties are undefeated!

~Ryan Rosoff
Group Services Sales Director

Kicking Off the Season

September 13, 2010

This Sunday was my favorite holiday of the year…NFL Football Season kicks off!

Okay, so to be precise, it started with the Saints vs. Vikings on Thursday night.  But the true kickoff is always on Sunday morning, and we are hosting the NFL Sunday Ticket here at City Beach all year long, so you know where you will find me for the rest of the year.

You may wonder what this has to do with social and corporate events…nice segue…glad you asked.  On July 31, we were the proud hosts of a certain local NFL team who shall remain nameless.  Okay, I’ll name them…it was the San Francisco 49ers!  They brought their entire team, coaching staff, and the coach’s son to City Beach on the first day of training camp.  Yes, they chose City Beach as the place for the entire team to bond…ON THE FIRST DAY OF THEIR FOOTBALL YEAR!  Needless to say, we were honored to have them. 

For fans of the team, you will happy to know that this group of guys is easy to root for.  The 49ers players, coaches, and front office are the most gracious and humble people you could ever hope to work with.  The steady leadership of Coach Singletary is evident throughout the organization.  He demands high character in addition to superior football skills, and his background and demeanor are nothing short of legendary.  Your humble correspondent was fortunate enough to spend a few minutes alone with the Coach, his son, and our Director of Operations, Gregg Dean.  The thing that we were most impressed with was his low-key energy.  He exudes calm confidence, which I am sure makes his “other side” that much more effective when he turns it on and becomes a master motivator.  That debacle in the opener against Seattle notwithstanding, I think the 49ers are heading towards a playoff birth and great things beyond just a first-round win.

That’s it for now!  We are preparing to host 1500 employees from a Bay Area behemoth tomorrow, so I am off to fold napkins and dust the eaves…

The Holidaze Are Here!

August 30, 2010

The Holidaze are upon us!

Remember when you were at the supermarket last September, and in the midst of buying beer, hot dogs, and ice, the faint sounds of “Jingle Bells” brought you to a grinding halt?  Remember when you thought, “Really?  Christmas in September?” 

In the event business, we’re used to it!  In years past, you were behind the curve if your holiday party offerings, marketing materials, phone calls, and emails weren’t queued up and ready to roll by the end of July.  In the “New Economy,” though, many companies holiday party planning and the budgets associated with them have changed dramatically.  Indeed, every year tough decisions are made across the board, and many wonder if the Holiday Party is a solid strategic move.

In the book Corporate Celebration by Terrence Deal and M.K. Key, the authors make a case that getting together with one’s colleagues for the sake of fun and merriment is basically essential for a thriving business.  The chapter “Frivolous or Fundamental,” the author describes a well-known company that has a culture where the year-end celebration is a key component to the company’s success: 

“(The company) realizes that taking time to celebrate is an integral part of doing business.  The cost of the gathering is offset by the subsequent dividends it reaps in employee morale, commitment, and hard work.  Seasonal celebration summons the corporate spirit, creating energy that carries over into the new year.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!  Thus, the new menu and enhancement offerings for Holiday Celebrations at City Beach are fun, lively, interactive, delicious, and cost-effective.  Our mad scientist and Group Programming Director, Gregg Dean, has developed 3 distinct program enhancements that will liven up any group.  Our newest addition to the team, the talented and larger-than-life Chef Keith Breedlove, has put together the tastiest and most price-conscious menu City Beach has ever had.  Combine these things with our different event spaces which are themed with holiday cheer (and surfboards, if you wish), the 2010 holiday season is shaping up to be a huge success.

We want you and your friends to share in the Holiday spirit – with each other and our staff!  Never mind the possible long-term benefits for your organization…just come in and Eat, Drink, and Be Merry…then repeat as necessary.

Check out our new website!

August 19, 2010

Okay…so this is a little different.  After a chronological year and a metaphoric lifetime, I am proud to be a part of City Beach’s new web site launch…Ta-Da!

I have designed corporate web sites before.  The meticulous preparation, the poring over of design and copy details, the delegating of things that are out of one’s realm of expertise, and the exhausting amount of options are all a part of the process (For a web geek, building a site can be a bit like leaving a 4-year old alone in a candy store…my bon-bons are left hand navigation buttons!)  

But rebuilding City Beach’s site was a challenge of a different ilk.  There simply isn’t another business model like ours, so the old site was truly the only reference guide.  Sure, we all have our favorite corporate branding designs, layouts, interactive features (all of which I am proud to say are included in our new shiny model.)  But when we started laundry-listing what we actually do, the sheer scope of it was almost overwhelming.

With the brain-trust firmly resolved, we worked diligently to build a site that was informative, interactive, and with the mojo that lives within our walls.  We received invaluable contributions and constructive criticism from many “chefs in the kitchen,” most of whom know us and know what the City Beach experience is all about. Suffice to say, we are better for having those objective eyes and ears involved.  

This is a dynamic web site.  Content will change, links will be updated, “i’s” will be dotted, etc.  But we are all very proud of our new look and the product that we are representing.  Please check out the team building videos or take a virtual tour of the Fremont facility.  Ask us questions, feel free to comment, or just drop us a line on our Facebook or Twitter links.  Also make sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay in tune with our fabulous restaurant, rock climbing, and event offerings.  

Thanks for a great (almost) 10 years in Fremont and longer in Santa Clara, and while our web site may change, our commitment to quality and customer service will remain!

Here it is www.citybeach.com

The Perception of Prosperity

April 20, 2010

The perception of prosperity was and is a struggle for corporate America.  When a certain company back in the 2008 was spending lavishly on their holiday parties and corporate functions (and Executive Bonuses), it sent ripples through the event industry.  Companies that could still afford to do something to reward their employees were doing nothing in the name of political correctness.  Not only did this crucify the event industry that directly and indirectly employs hundreds of thousands of people, it also effectively reduced morale at companies around the country.

Yes, unemployment is still high.  Yes, there are a lot of people looking for jobs or worrying about feeding their kids or making their next mortgage payment.  But do we all continue to live in fear of “what people may think,” bowed by our concern that we will appear to prosperous when it is not prudent to do so? 

I am a creature of optimism.  City is, by its very nature, an optimistic place.  We choose to proceed with a sense that the worst is behind us and the best is yet to come, and we preach it internally as well as to the folks that come to us for team building or just to kick back for a beer and some food.  Like virtually every business in America, we saw tough times in the last 18 months that tested our mettle as an organization.  But we, like so many of you, have found our way through the woods and are coming out of this more nimble, sensitive, and focused. 

What I want for us as an organization is what I want for America and for the world – a renewed sense of possibilities, an eye towards a better financial future, and the conviction that no matter how bad things get, there is a way to get better and stronger through hard work and steadfast conviction.  More than ever, we are grateful that people around the Bay Area continue to patronize City.  If you have the means, and if you have the desire, we await your people with open arms and a plan to inspire them towards a brighter tomorrow.

City Beach Santa Clara – Take the Whole Place!

April 16, 2010

As a member of the Sales Team at City Beach, I am stationed in our corporate offices at the Fremont facility. However, a good portion of my sales inquiries are for our Santa Clara site, so I like to go down there every couple of weeks to peek in. It is critical for the sales team to always be in touch with the pulse of the staff, the operational and logistical nuances of each facility, and the overall vibe. Because I spend so much time up in Fremont, it is easy to lose touch a bit with our brothers in the SC!

I live in South San Jose, so it is about a 20-minute drive up the 85 to the 87 to the 101. I made the trip to City Beach Santa Clara last Saturday for a Bar Mitzvah, and I was immediately greeted by my event staff buddies Eli, Larry, and Travis. I met another crew member named Sam for the first time as well, and all seemed in great spirits and happy to be in Santa Clara.

As I watched the flow of the party from up close and afar, I got a sense of why our team a loves to work at events in SC. As Eli (one of our lead facilitators and resident Mitzvah Games expert) told me, it is an unbelievable spot for parties of 60-150 people, because YOU GET THE WHOLE BUILDING! Seriously, the entire 26,000 square foot facility is yours…5 sport courts, two awesome seating and serving areas, and no sharing with anyone. According to Larry, the lead host on the party, “I love it down here because it is so wide open, and no one has to police different events at the same time.”

As I left the building, I thought about the upcoming birthday parties of my three kids. This latest trip to City Beach Santa Clara left no doubt that we will be there for at least two of them in 2010. And Eli, Larry, Travis, and Sam will all be there, too!

RR out