GetKnit supports local businesses while drawing people together for pub crawls, terrarium making, and more
By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
Four years ago, Standish-Ericsson resident Nick Blake (photo right) wanted to meld together his desire to support local businesses and bring together friends for fun gatherings, and to turn that into something bigger than himself.
GetKnit Events was born.
The locally-owned experiential events company focuses on Minneapolis and St. Paul, but also offers activities in the suburbs and Greater Minnesota.
“The inspiration behind starting GetKnit was fueled by a love for supporting local and creating community,” remarked Blake, who serves as president. “From the beginning, my team and I often joked that GetKnit is the ‘love child’ of bringing those two concepts together.”
The business name says it all, according to Blake. “Not to be cheesy, but we really do aim to ‘knit’ the community together through our events. We do that through creating opportunities for our local partners to work together to showcase their products and services in interactive ways via our event packages. Those events are then offered up to the public with the goal of inspiring our participants to get out there, try something new, and experience all our surroundings have to offer. And the great thing about Minnesota is it offers so much!”
Since 2013, over 15,000 people have participated in GetKnit events. “I love that we’re given the opportunity to be memory makers for our participants,” said Blake.
Upcoming brewpub tours
The Progressive Meal Brewpub Tour features four local brewpubs, including Northbound Smokehouse at 2716 E. 38th St. At each pub participants will enjoy two small plates paired with a beer flight. “It’s a great way to experience the diversity of that scene in our neighborhood and throughout the metro!” said Blake.
Photo left: Brews & Buses, one of GetKnit’s two biggest events of the year, offers a door-to-door tour of all 11 breweries located in St. Paul, for a one-day, large-scale event. “It gives us a great opportunity to showcase what is happening in the brewing community across the river, and to truly highlight to diverse breweries in our capital city,” said GetKnit President Nick Blake. “It truly is a special day.” (Photo submitted)
The progressive tour was held on Mar. 18 and will be offered again on Apr. 8.
Also in April is Brews & Buses, one of GetKnit’s two biggest events of the year. A fleet of buses creates a ‘brewery circuit’ that goes door-to-door to all 11 breweries located in St. Paul, for a one-day, large-scale event.
It’s one of the most logistically challenging as GetKnit creates its own line of transportation for the day, remarked Blake.
“What I am the most excited about this event, and all our bigger events, is that it allows us to expand our reach in one single day—not only in terms of our participants but also our partners,” he said. “It gives us a great opportunity to showcase what is happening in the brewing community across the river, and to truly highlight to diverse breweries in our capital city. It truly is a special day!”
The third annual ‘Brews & Buses: St. Paul Brewery Bus Crawl’ on Sat., Apr. 29 runs from 11am to 6pm. Early registration tickets are available for $45 until Apr. 9; after that prices rise to $55.
The event begins at Union Depot in Lowertown Saint Paul, where participants will check in and receive two beer tokens, each good for a pint of beer at any participating brewery, an event T-shirt which will unlock special discounts at each stop, and an event passport which contains maps, contests, and information to guide them. From there, the event is a self-guided crawl—allowing participants to plot their own route as they visit new breweries and old favorites.
Each brewery will be serving specialty beers just for Brews & Buses participants, have special activities including live music and games, and offer discounts on food, beers, and merchandise throughout the event.
Something larger than himself
Blake had been involved in the event world since before he dove into the workforce out of college. His first job was with Event360, a company based out of Chicago, where he worked on cause-focused events with non-profit organizations to bring their large-scale events to life. His main client during those five years was Susan G. Komen.
“This job gave me the opportunity to work for something larger than myself, but I got to work alongside some of the most creative, hardworking people I’ve ever known,” recalled Blake. “I also got to travel all around the States, and in doing so, my heart for exploration and adventure really came to life.”
Minnesota called him home, and he took a job with the start-up LivingSocial, helping create and build the event arm of the company for Minnesota. “The leadership in our division here would always preach ‘this is your company…make it what you will.’ I attest the fostering of my entrepreneurial spirit to that team,” stated Blake.
He moved to the LivingSocial travel division when they stopped planning events, and learned through travel what it was that his heart most loved about home. It motivated him to take the next step and start his own business.
Before GetKnit was created, Blake met with some local businesses from the beer, art, adventure, tourism, sightseeing, wine, and food industries. He remembers sharing with them what he was hoping to do, and the response was a unanimous “Yes, we need something like this!”
Photo right: The GetKnit Team celebrates its fourth anniversary together in March 2017. Standish-Ericsson resident Nick Blake credits the GetKnit team of ‘Local Gurus’ for keeping the events afloat. “Our team is made up of some of the most engaging, outgoing, and dynamic individuals around,” he praised. Since 2013, over 15,000 people have participated in GetKnit events. (Photo submitted)
“That was wildly affirming and all of those things combined, along with the support of family and friends, inevitably led to the creation of GetKnit Events,” said Blake. “It’s so exciting to see how that original idea has grown, evolved, and impacted so many local businesses and participants alike.”
To those who want to start their own companies, Blake recommends this: “No matter your business, success lies in the details. Pay attention to those and you’ll soar.”
Success lies in the details
What sets GetKnit apart? According to Blake, it’s the details.
“We put a strong emphasis on ensuring that everything is well thought out and executed accordingly on our events,” said Blake.
He praised the GetKnit team of ‘Local Gurus.’ “They are the spirit that keeps our events afloat,” said Blake. “Our team is made up of some of the most engaging, outgoing, and dynamic individuals around.”
But GetKnit wouldn’t be a success without the willingness of participants to try something new. “Without them, and their support, our events would be lifeless,” observed Blake.
More at getknitevents.com.