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Glazier Group's Penny Glazier

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Penny Glazier and her husband, Peter, own and operate The Glazier Group, a 700-employee company that manages restaurants and event spaces including Monkey Bar and Restaurant, Michael Jordan's the Steak House N.Y.C., Strip House and Bridgewaters. Next up: In October the Glaziers plan to open Twenty Four Fifth, an 8,400-square-foot event space in the former Fifth Avenue Hotel ballroom.

Are you worried about opening another venue in the current economy?

Actually, we are not, because a great part of our business is social [events]. At Bridgewaters, we're booked every weekend. And we're doing parties throughout the summer at the restaurants. For Bridgewaters and Twenty Four Fifth, we see some corporate business coming back. Event planners are not planing as far out, but we are getting inquiries.

How are you going after meeting and event business for the new venue?

I'm putting together an advertising campaign. We'll be targeting corporations and meeting and event planners. But we've been able to generate excitement because of our existing relationships with event planners who do both social and corporate events. Bridgewaters has a good reputation, and what we've done in the past has been a great help to us. We've already booked business at Twenty Four Fifth.

Meanwhile, you've put plans on hold for the Glazier Center, the convention center you were planning to open next to Bridgewaters. Why?

I don't really want to comment on that, but it will happen.

How has event and group business been over the past year?

It's down from the year before, but we've done some really fabulous parties. We did a Nike launch for a new sneaker at Jordan's, and HBO filmed an episode of Sex and the City at Monkey Bar. You have a range of different venues.

Which has been most popular with event planners recently?

Well, everybody likes new [venues], and Strip House was the new kid [for a while]. We've done a lot of wonderful parties there. Because we have a track record, people are willing to try our new places. The trick is to sustain "new" with great food and service, and be able to reinvest in the property.

How are event planners changing what they want?

Earlier on, in the years before 9/11, people were more apt to give you a larger budget. They still exist, but people want to make sure they're getting their money's worth. And [people are asking for] simpler parties.

How do you see event budgets changing now?

There are still parties where people are spending money, but people are cautious-and rightfully so. Still, people are always going to celebrate. Most event planners are optimistic that the economy will come back. There has always been caution, and there has always been extravagance. To be able to accommodate a client is really important. Within reason, there are ways to adapt dates and menus. You can be creative.

Posted 08.21.02