Recommended by 20%
Alex Kuhn · Married on 10/11/2019
a nightmare experience
On October 25th, 2018 my fiance and I signed a contract with Derek for an October 2019 wedding event. It was to be held at his first event space at 1325 Washington Ave, which was still under construction at the time. He showed us renderings of the event space (on the second floor) and a whiskey bar and restaurant that would be on the first floor. We were a little hesitant about the timeline, but Derek felt confident that it would be ready by May 2019, well before our October 2019 wedding. He had a deal going on for the first ten clients to book with him, so we were overjoyed that we would be able to afford our dream wedding!Sent on 07/10/2019
On February 28th, 2019 I sent Derek an email saying that I had been following Gather (the original event space name) on social media and hadn’t seen any progress posted. My fiance and I were finally starting to work through details and ideas and wanted to check in on construction. Derek responded saying that he aquired two other event spaces since we last spoke and the progress at 1325 Washington Ave was moving slower than he hoped. He stated that he still thought it would be ready by our October wedding, but if we wanted to view the other two event spaces and see what we thought, he would honor our contracted price. During this email he introduced us to Brooke, his vendor coordinator. We set up an appointment for March 23rd, 2019.
On March 23rd, 2019 Derek and Brooke showed me and my family two event spaces: The Den and The Pearl. He did not communicate with us that our original space (1325 Washington Ave) was no longer available. We eventually decided that we would need to move our wedding to The Pearl in the Ely Walker building as construction was complete. It was a beautiful event space and locking in our original price helped secure our decision. Brooke and I exchanged phone numbers to communicate and plan our wedding.
The week of June 2nd I made dozens of attempts to communicate with Derek and Brooke through email, texts, and phone calls. All emails sent would be returned by Gmail saying the message was undeliverable. Texts went unanswered. Finally on June 11th, Brooke responded to my texts saying she no longer works for Derek and gave me his new email address. It turns out that the business name changed from Gather to Element Events. This was not communicated at all to his clients. I sent Derek an email that evening to his new email address stating:
“I have made multiple attempts to communicate with you and Brooke about our October wedding. I really would appreciate some honesty moving forward as we are trusting you with one of the most important days in our life. You’ve changed locations, names, emails, and staff all within such a short amount of time and without any communication with one of the first clients to book with you. We need some confidence that you are able to make our wedding happen. We’ve been trying to send out invitations and are looking for the information to post. Is construction complete? Have you hosted your first wedding like you said you had scheduled? Do you feel confident your business will stay stable and available for our wedding? We have put down a significant amount of money towards this event and are just wanting to feel more secure with our decision. We look forward to speaking with you soon.”
Derek responded to the email apologizing for his lack of communication, but very excited for our big day. He went on introducing me to his new staff member, Jamal, and planned to meet with us to alleviate the concerns I had. I had several fears moving forward, but knew that breaking our contract would lose our money. So, I planned a meeting with all hopes that this event would work out. He was our planning, catering, decorating, event space - everything. I had shared with him the importance of our event and that I was fearful, and he enthusiastically promised it would go on without a hitch.
While on vacation July 2nd with my fiance, actually the milestone day of being 100 days away from our wedding, we recieved an email from Derek that stated:
“Due to a series of unfortunate events we are currently working on refunding everyone for their events. My lawyer is working with me to help initiate refunds and navigate bankruptcy. The reason space improvements are not done, and we have halted is as follows:
1) The city has stopped issuing me catering liquor licenses. The reason is a few people in downtown do not want event spaces in residential buildings. They build a smear campaign against me, and got the commisioner to agree to not grant licenses. Obviously no licenses = no business. It has been a blow especially when combined with the next factor.
2) Violence has impacted us considerably. 40 shots were fired outside of one of our events in a random drive by. Several bullets made it in, and several people were injured. It was the scariest thing ever for me and the guests. Obviously, safety for myself, my staff, and our guests is paramount. I am working with a lawyer right now to process refunds, and help navigate me through bankruptcy as I obviously took a risk with the mindset that I would be licensed no problem (like for my first events). You will be hearing from me and my lawyer in the next 2 weeks on processing a refund. I am trying everything in my power to get everyone their refunds.”
We are devastated, angry, hurt, mislead, and upset. It has been one week since this email and we have heard nothing. Every email and text has gone unanswered. Phone calls will ring, but then the voicemail box is full so you can’t leave a message. With less than 100 days to go, we are doing our best to pick up the pieces and plan an entire wedding. As you can imagine, most event spaces are already booked for October 2019 and well into 2020. We already sent out invitations and would like to try and keep our date, but are trying to keep an open mind. We are yet to receive any communication or refund. I am thankful for my friends and family to help us get through this nightmare, but I still need (and deserve) answers and professionalism from Derek and Element Events.
Please feel free to reach out at 314-719-6289.
Stacious Baker · Married on 08/31/2019
Unprofessional, unsafe and unreliable
April 24th, I contacted Ashley regarding event space for our 30th Class Reunion. She advised over the phone they had 2 locations that may fit the events we have planned for our 30th Class Reunion.Sent on 06/24/2019
a. The Woodland – 2000.00 – Price originally quoted from Ashley)
b. The Pearl – 3000.00 (Price originally quoted from Ashley)
April 25th, 11”45am - I contacted Ashley to set an appointment to view event space. I left work early this day and met Ashley at The Woodland and Brooke was present. They took me on a tour of “The Woodland” event space. Next, I followed them (Ashley and Brooke) to “The Pearl & Grotto” event space at 1520 Washington Avenue in the Ely Walker Building. As we were touring the site, Brooke began to quote different prices. I advised Brooke of the communication with Ashley and I and the previous price quoted. Brooke said that was fine and that she would send a proposal for “The Pearl and Grotto” event spaces. I advised both Brooke and Ashley that the Pearl was much more appealing for the banquet. Brooke agreed to send the quote the following day.
April 26th, Instead of receiving a Proposal, price discrepancies and included a proposal, however, every email for Ashley, Derek and Brooke failed. I was unable to communicate via email or send a response.
April 27th, I sent Ashley a text via cellphone to advise her of the undeliverable emails. Ashley apologized and requested I send the communication to her personal email. firstname.lastname@example.org
Since April 27th, I have communicated via text or spoken with Ashley, however, I haven’t received a commitment in writing.
April 29 – Present – We are searching for Owners or Company for the event space. However I don’t want to taint my relationship with Ashley and Brooke, I have continued to be patient. I also continued to reach out to Ashley to express an interest in “the Pearl” event space. I have advised if she has information to share to please contact me.
Monday, May 6th, I texted Ashley and advised that lack of communication has been extremely odd and if there is information to share, please let me know. Ashley and I talked on the phone and she reassured me that I should receive a proposal by end of day May 7th.
Tuesday May 7th, I received a text and pictures for an event that was at “The Pearl” Saturday, May 4th. We had previously discussed the Prom event. I sent Ashley a text to ask could we meet to view the venue on Thursday, May 9th. Another class committee member will be in town and she would like a viewing to help bring our event to life.
May 8th, Another Class Committee member and myself met Brook and Ashley at 1520 Washington (The Pearl) for an onsite visit of the event space and to go over details for our event. Ashley advised us that there were 4 partners in the space. Brooke, Ashley and her partner and Derek. We were pleased with the new negotiations and finalized our contract on May 8th. Paid our Deposit of 2095.93 on May 10th.
June 12, 2019 I emailed the group about Tableware for our event. As we would soon begin working with our Design Coordinator. I received an email reply from Brooke that she and Ashley had parted ways with Derek Schulze. I was concerned because I've never met Derek and we only have communicated via email.
June 12th received response from Derek with Tableware selections, however, I replied that I had never met him and needed to meet him ASAP and sent him a list of my previous concerns. He agreed to meet me Sunday June 23rd at 11am
Friday June 21st, I drove by the event space and observed the Front Door boarded up and one of the Windows boarded up and damage to other windows.
Sunday, June 23rd. I text Derek to confirm our meeting. No response, however, due to importance of the meeting. My fiance' went to the event space anyway. Derek was a no show. I text him and let him know we arrived. At approx. 11:30am, he text back and said that he needs to reschedule. I told him that was unacceptable. He said downtown is crazy right now and he recently had 2 Life threatening events and he is currently traumatized. He advised he has a restaurant called "Fried" (A cannabis themed restaurant) that also experienced some sort of violence, but he wasn't specific.
After researching the internet it appers on June 15th or 16th approx. 1am. The Pearl Event Space at the Ely Walker Building was damaged due to a Drive by shooting. I found no incident online regarding his other establishment at approx. 1320 Washington Ave.
I requested a Refund and contacted the Owner of the Ely Walker Building Dr. Sonny Saggar and gave him a breakdown of the events that had occurred. At approximately 4pm. Derek refunded our money via PayPal.
He never picked up the phone to apologize. He would only text. He did not respect our time by cancelling in advance.
I do not recommend using this space for any reason. It's odd that his establishments are being targeted.
I have emails, receipts and text messages. If you need to reach me please do so at 904-405-9526. Sincerely Stacious Baker.