Think "party" and many of life's celebrations come to mind.
Soosie Lazenby has opened URBANcoast, a Belleair Bluffs business that plans, designs and produces everything needed for those special occasions.
"We are a complete event design and production studio," Lazenby said. "We put together an entire decor package in the store before the event so the client can see what it will look like."
Services include in-house custom designed and printed invitations to theme-coordinated tabletop decorations, gifts and fresh flowers. The planning service is free.
Bev Lindo of nearby Harbor Bluffs stopped by the shop to order invitations for a baby shower she is planning for 67 guests in August. Before she left, Lazenby had helped her plan the entire party, from start to finish.
"I had no idea this was such an amazing place," Lindo said. "Soosie walked me through the whole process.
"Within minutes of finding the invitations, she had matching dinner plates, napkins, linens and more. This is going to be the most beautiful shower.
"I would never do another party without Soosie."
Char Pfaelzer of Indian Rocks Beach said she wandered into the shop in January looking for invitations for her daughter's May 30 wedding.
"Since then, Soosie has helped us with every facet of my daughter's wedding celebration," Pfaelzer said.
Pfaelzer said Lazenby "has provided personalized service beyond anything one could hope for. She listens and then exceeds expectations."
Lazenby isn't a newcomer to planning large and small events.
She's a 20-year veteran of the sports marketing industry and has produced events for Fortune 100 companies, celebrities, nonprofit organizations, television networks and sports teams. She has owned and operated her own consulting business and worked in senior marketing and management for Adidas America, International Management Group and the Massachusetts Sports Partnership that serves as the state's sports commission.
Lazenby grew up in Clearwater. She attended St. Paul's School in Largo and Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, then graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans.
After 25 years away from the area, she and her husband, who works in marketing for PODS, returned two years ago.
Not long after the couple settled in Belleair, Lazenby began planning a new venture and opened URBANcoast, named after a sports marketing and consulting business she had.
After nearly a year and despite the fragile economy, the business is taking off, she said.
She has a full-time graphics designer and three part-time employees. She works with clients in New York, Los Angeles and Boston, as well as the Tampa Bay area.
"I really like this next phase of my career," she said. "I've always produced events, but now on a smaller scale."
URBANcoast, she said, "is about celebrating all of life's special occasions. While they may not be as grand, it's still important to commemorate these milestones, maybe even more so during these times."
Chris Cosdon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.