On Your Mark, Get Set, PARK!

Valet Parking – It’s Not ONLY About Parking Cars

“Valet is not just a service, it’s a science.” – Zach, Director of Cars + Drivers

 Star Trax Valet Parking is more about making each customer feel comfortable leaving their vehicle in capable hands than about simply parking their car. In 2017, Star Trax will provide valet parking services at approximately 1,600 events and park about 60,000 cars.  With over 300 parkers, we can handle almost any size event with outstanding service and satisfaction.

Our goal is to make your valet experience seamless, whether you are a host or a guest. Our commitment to our customers and attention to detail differentiates ourselves from other valet companies – you can trust us to take care of your vehicle, as if it was our very own.    

Our Valet Team takes a ton of time preparing for any given event … starting with your initial contact.  We are always reachable by phone and pride ourselves in always responding immediately.  We ask a lot of questions and gather a lot of information – no two events are ever the same.  Our valet managers plan every move so everything runs smoothly and efficiently the day of your event.  We often do a site visit to make sure every detail is accounted for and ensure that we staff appropriately and effectively. We prepare for anything and everything!

Star Trax’s commitment to customer service drives every member of our team. Our valet parkers are always ready to greet the next car or patron with a welcoming smile and a lending hand. Our goal is to always Be Extra Nice and provide an awesome experience, above and beyond just parking your car:  forget an item in your car – we’ll run back and get it for you; need help carrying items into the venue – we’ll bring them in; need assistance walking to the front door – we’ll help.  We live by the motto H.A.T.T. (Hustle All the Time: Run Fast – Drive Slow) and we always aim to please – safely and quickly!

At the end of the day, our goal is to make sure that EVERYONE is happy: the client is completely satisfied with the service we provided and every patron drives away having dealt with a great team and having had a great experience.  That’s the Star Trax Way!

by Todd Duggins

We Love What We Do... And It Shows!

Our company culture defines the personality of our organization and how our team members interact, both internally within our company and externally with those around us. It’s the formula that guides the team as well as inspires and motivates our employees.  Our company culture is responsible for attracting and attaining great talent as well as creating a fun, happy and exciting work environment.

Imagine going to work every day surrounded by people you like and doing things you enjoy.  The head of the company’s door is always open and you have the freedom to “do your thing and run with it.”  You meet regularly as a team and communicate easily with staff at all levels.  High fives, chocolate, and snacks are readily available.  Company outings and monthly lunches are the norm.  And everyone around you is happy, outgoing and very friendly. You are a piece of an extremely important puzzle.  You love what you do and how you get to do it … and it shows in your performance. This is Star Trax … our culture and our people!

We continue to share what happens behind the Star Trax scene because we want you, our valued customer, to understand ‘who’ and ‘what’ goes into creating YOUR EVENTS and MEMORIES.  A task we don’t take lightly.  Having a true team of professionals on your side – people that love what they do and how they get to do it – is key to creating your successful events.

Star Trax’s company culture sustains employee enthusiasm.  Our team is made up of people who are dedicated, love their job, and genuinely care about what happens to the company for which they work.  We trust that our people are motivated to provide great service in a timely manner and believe that flexibility in the workplace is important in increasing employee morale. We also believe that when employees understand that their work is contributing to the overall success of the company and they’re working together toward common goals, they perform better.

We encourage team camaraderie and respect among our employees and believe that a fun, happy workplace creates cooperation and trust across the business. Our company culture is kept alive by in-house team-building experiences and social events. Star Trax makes sure that there is always an upcoming company event so the entire Team has something to look forward to. Our monthly Tasty Tuesday’s are a chance for us to enjoy lunch together and catch up on a personal level.  And our group activities, which include bowling, fowling, shopping, volunteering, and attending industry networking events, keep us busy, entertained and ‘always in the know.’

Our employees MUST LOVE working at Star Trax.  We know that happy employees have a positive effect on our company’s reputation.  We are proud of how we conduct business; how we treat our employees; and how we give back to the community.  We believe that “Every Touch Counts” and that everyone we meet must fall in love with us, or we are not doing our job.

We have developed an outstanding culture at Star Trax because we have trust in our employees and we believe in what we do.  Our company is filled with talented, loyal people who love their job and genuinely care about what happens to the company for which they work.

What Should I Give Away?

Bar/Bat Mitzvah giveaways are a fun and creative way to add excitement to your party and remember the celebration for years to come.

There are two types of giveaways that will keep guests on the dance floor and remind them what a great time they had at your event.

Dance Floor Giveaways:  These favors are passed out by the entertainers on the dance floor, encouraging guests to join in and dance. They add a "fun" component to the dancing activity. Dance floor giveaways should be chosen carefully and, when possible, affix to some part of the body. Examples include:  sunglasses, necklaces, hats, bracelets, fun ties, rings, etc.  These items are simple to hand out and easy to wear.  Our experience with other types of giveaways like balls, batons, flashlights, etc. is that they get tossed around the dance floor and can create unnecessary chaos.

Dance floor giveaways can be ordered directly from many online novelty companies and websites:  the selection is endless.  When purchasing giveaways, there are several formulas that entertainment companies use to determine the perfect number of items to buy.  We recommend ordering three giveaways per child.  This always works out very well at the parties we plan and emcee.

It's important that the entertainers hand out giveaways throughout the duration of the event so guests are not over-saturated at any specific time. This way, guests will always have something to which they can look forward. A strong entertainment company will pair certain songs with certain giveaways so that there is more meaning to the dance floor pass-outs. 

Dance Floor Prizes: These are prizes that are given to the guests who are working hard to make the child's party great and to those who are winning contests like Pepsi/Coke, Craziest Dancer, Treasure Hunt, Trivia Games, etc.  Both adults and kids, alike, will dance and participate more if there are dance floor prizes being handed out.

We recommend getting prizes for 20% of the kids. It’s always fun to get a variety of items that will attract boys and girls of all ages.  Prizes like apparel, gift certificates, and fun “chachkies” are always a hit.  Dance floor prizes are common but not critical. It's the people that make the party … the prizes just add extra fun and entertainment. 

 

by Geoff Kretchmer

 

 

Star Trax and Holiday Cheer

The Star Trax Annual Holiday Party invitation simply stated: “Save the Date!  Extend the Holiday Cheer! Just be ready to go!  We’ll take care of it all – driving, lunch and everything else.”

At Star Trax, we like to be innovative when planning events.  Our Annual Holiday Party had to be creative!  And it had to be amazing!  And, we wanted to show our appreciation to our amazing employees, as well as give back to our community. Hmmm … what to do?

Curiosity and excitement in the office was evident:  carefully inquiring minds, creative guesses and constant chatter about the “Surprise Holiday Party” was never-ending.  No-one could figure out what we were doing for our Annual Holiday Party.  I had them all stumped!

The day finally arrived!  Mid-morning, our Team gathered in front of our office building where our “chariot” awaited. We boarded the ALLSTAR Chauffeured bus and were on our way.

Comfortably settled in the plush seats of the moving vehicle, each Star Trax Team member was presented with a generous Target Gift Card.  Along the way, contests and games kept us busy, with more Gift Cards being awarded to all winners. The party had begun. The instructions were simple: “It’s the Holiday Season.  Once we get to our destination, treat yourself to something special – anything you want!  Also, in the spirit of giving, please purchase something small for a family in need.”  Our Team was supporting Humble Design, a Detroit-based non-profit organization that helps families transition out of homeless shelters by providing furnishings and design services. Our goal was to buy bedding, lamps and home accessories for Humble Design families!  Anything that can help turn an empty house into a clean, dignified and welcoming home.

We pulled into the Target parking lot.  Everyone jumped off the bus, ran into the store, grabbed carts and began zipping up and down the aisles, filling up their carts in record time. The Shopping Spree had begun.

However, our Team amazed us … their carts were filling up with bedding, lamps, decorative pillows and household accessories. Where were the electronics, kitchen gadgets, and personal items that we were “gifting” our team members?  Not in their carts!

Our amazing Team chose to buy items for Humble Families, instead of themselves. What an amazing group of people we have working at Star Trax … always thinking of others and giving back to the community! We finally encouraged our peeps to treat themselves to a few small items.  However, the shopping carts that were wheeled out of the store were mostly over-flowing with Target bags packed with everything a Humble Design family would need to make a house a home!

Our Holiday Party continued … our “chariot” took us to a local restaurant where we treated our amazing staff to lunch.  A table of 16 Star Trax peeps – every one of them – kind, compassionate, thoughtful, and giving!  We are so proud of this Team! While we wanted to thank them for all their hard work and appreciation throughout the year, they, instead, chose to extend the Holiday Cheer and give back to others!

But, the Party does not end here! 

In the Spring, our Team, along with our bags and bags of household items, will be helping Humble Design by turning two houses into welcoming homes.  We’ll fill them with goodies from our trip as well as donated furniture that Humble Design collects and stores in its massive warehouse.  We can’t wait to help!

Stay tuned for an update. We can’t wait to share our April Experience!

by Loren Stone

 

Dancer Training: Behind the Scenes

 

At 16, I had my dream job of being a Star Trax dancer at weekend events!  As a Star Trax dancer, throughout my high school and college years, I learned about the entertainment and event business from the ground up. I was taught by the best.  Fast forward 15 years - one of my many roles allows me to recruit, train and schedule our interactive entertainment staff. Having been with Star Trax for half of my life, my motto, “Been There, Done That” gives me a unique perspective that helps me relate to and motivate new, energetic, and enthusiastic dancers.

Star Trax Dancers are much more than “just dancers.”  While their primary role is to dance and engage the crowd, they are in charge of many behind the scenes activities as well.  A dancer is the MC’s right hand assistant and is responsible for everything from preparing giveaways, helping with the candle lighting, connecting hands for the Hora and facilitating speeches and games.  The MC is just one person - the energy is created by our team!  Each event is always staffed with an Anchor Dancer who has years of experience and hundreds of parties under their belt! The Anchor Dancer is the leader of the team and assigns tasks as needed throughout the evening.

It’s important that you know who our dancers are, and while our dancers may sometimes seem like one of your guests, Star Trax Dancers must be recognizable and stand out as leaders at your event.  We always dress our team members in attire that matches the colors or theme of your event.  It is critical that our look is in sync with your party at all times and, therefore, you will notice multiple wardrobe changes throughout the event. (We also change our clothes because we get REALLY hot and require a change, Wink!) There is a reason behind our madness … our dancers are skilled, professional, enthusiastic, polished and completely IN TUNE!

You’re probably wondering, “How do we train our dancers and help them become the BEST in the business?”  Twice a month, MC Dennis and I host Dancer Training with our current and future dancers.  During these sessions, we share our experiences from past weekend events and review and learn new dances, games and appropriate etiquette for parties.  Dancer Training Sessions also provide great team building experiences where dancers can connect with one another in a fun and friendly atmosphere.  We make sure our dancers are ready for any challenge! 

And where do we find such amazing talent?  We recruit, not only through word of mouth within the community, but also through local dance studios and area high school and college dance teams.  Star Trax is always looking for crazy, high energy staff to add to our roster of 75 awesome dancers!  If you think you’d be a fabulous Star Trax Dancer or you know of someone who might be interested, please encourage them to contact me.  Reach out:  danielle@startrax.com

 

by Danielle Hannah

Attention 5th Graders!

The invitations for our 5th grade party has been sent!  It’s time to register your current 5th grader for our 6th grade Fall 2017 JOE CORNELL EXPERIENCE.  Our classes fill fast – so don’t wait! 

Register online:  www.startrax.com (click the dance class tab)

Make sure to RSVP for the 5th grade party too!  Your kids can meet our staff and see for themselves what all the hype is about.   RSVP:  becca@startrax.com

 

A little background….

My mom swears that Joe Cornell (the man) taught his first dance class to Detroit area teens in her basement in 1957.  Funny, I have heard that same story from multiple people throughout my time as one of the owners of Joe Cornell (the company).  

Families invited Joe Cornell into their homes to teach their kids to dance.  There was no Xbox, travel sports, dance competitions or iPhones.   It was fun to sit with your family and listen to the ball game on the radio, walk with your friends to the corner nickel store, and dance in your friend’s basements.

Joe was onto something:  interaction of boys and girls in a structured social setting; teaching manners and the importance of being cool AND being kind and; etiquette lessons embedded into a dance based curriculum. 

The music has changed but the lessons learned at JOE CORNELL have not.  Nothing prepares our pre-teens for the middle school social scene and beyond like JOE CORNELL. 

Our program concentrates on teaching local kids the hottest “moves” and current dances while instilling crucial coming of age lessons that are hard to teach at home.  Detroit natives have been screaming our praises for years!  Here are some of our favorites…

“I never thought this would fly with my 11-year-old son. Boy, was I wrong.  Joe Cornell is the highlight of his week!”  

“I loved Joe Cornell classes when I was a teen and 29 years later my twins love it too!”

“Nothing beats watching your child on the dance floor all night at his cousin’s bar mitzvah. Thank you for giving him the confidence to enjoy himself socially.”

“I’m not joking.  My kid is showering, using deodorant and brushing his teeth before each class – and I haven’t said one word!”

“My daughter takes tap, jazz and ballet.  I wasn’t sure why she needed another dance class.  Her friends were signing up for your program and she begged me to let her join.  I now totally get it.  Our kids are so socially isolated.  Your class gave my daughter a chance to interact face to face with her peers in a fun social environment.”

Keep the comments coming – WE LOVE THEM!

Register your 5th grader online:  www.startrax.com or simply call:  Becca – 248-268-3805

History of the Event Show

Sunday, August 17, 2003 was the date of our first Event Planning EXPO.  After a year of creating, discussing, planning, selling and marketing - we were set to embark on a “first” for the social event planning community in Metro Detroit.  We were thrilled to gather local event industry leaders  and experts under one roof for an entire day - ready to meet prospective clients planning milestone events.  Nothing could have prepared us for the BLACKOUT of 2003.  As the heat index climbed – power surged and disrupted millions in the Northeast, including eight states and Canada.  Guess what?  Most of the power in our area wasn’t restored until the end of the weekend.  Locals fled the heat - perfect timing for a weekend getaway before the start of school.  OUR EXPO WAS SUNDAY!

The show must go on! 

Generators were sent to Sheraton Oaks Novi, our EXPO site.  Power was restored!  We had lights, we had electricity, and we had the lingering chlorine smell from the lobby pool, a result of the weekend’s high humidity and lack of power.  Conditions were not perfect.  Our vendors rallied.  Load in happened as planned.  There was no FACEBOOK.  There was no way to reach people and tell them that the hotel was open and the show was still ON.  The doors opened AND PEOPLE CAME!  Over 200 families attended the show.  It was a success.  It proved that our community needed this event. 

Fast forward 13 years. The Event Planning EXPO, now referred to as the Event Show, has become an annual event for vendors and attendees alike.  This year, the Event Show will be held on October 9, 2016 at the West Bloomfield JCC (11 AM to 3 PM).  Experts will be on-site, ready to inspire families and businesses planning events!  No matter the occasion, our vendors can walk you through the entire event planning process, sharing ideas on WHAT’S NEW, CURRENT, and ON TREND.   We have it all:  the finest venues, decorators, floral designers, photographers, linens, décor, rentals, catering, fun food, invitation and souvenir specialists, interactive entertainment, music and so much more.  Seventy vendors ready to meet you face-to-face and help you  plan your entire event in one day!

ONLY ONE DAY, ONCE A YEAR!
FREE TO ATTEND!  PRE-REGISTER HERE:  www.theeventshowfall2016.eventbrite.com

The Event Show is bigger and better than it’s ever been.  We have more vendors and more attendees than ever.  And we have the finest local talent, experts and businesses in the event planning industry.

The need for year-round event planning assistance has inspired Plan It! Magazine.  This party planning resource guide is filled with trusted referrals and vendors providing services for everything you need to plan your next event.  Updated and published twice yearly, the print edition can be found at various rack locations throughout Metro Detroit as well as online at www.planitmagazine.com.  The content is current.  The photos are phenomenal.  The advertisers are always at your fingertips. 

Join us.  Let us hold your hand.  See for yourself how others have made the planning process for their events easy.  Meet the professionals, sample the cuisine and see new products. To sweeten the pot, our vendors will be offering discounts and Event Show incentives for those that attend – ONLY!

We look forward to meeting you on October 9, 2016 at the West Bloomfield JCC from 11AM – 3PM.  

www.theeventshowfall2016.eventbrite.com

 

by Becca Schlussel

 

 

DIRECTOR OF EXTRA FUN

I am Brian Fishman or better known as Fish or Josi’s husband.  In my previous careers, I both practiced law and ran my family’s printing business.  I have a knack for being curious about how things work, and when Josi began her interactive entertainment business I was assigned the task of “figuring things out.” In the latest Star Trax Mock Elections, I was voted best hair, most likely to join a motorcycle gang and handiest employee. One of those seems to be more important on an everyday basis here at Star Trax. Can you guess which one?  A little hint – I recently cut my hair and I have yet to find the “right” motorcycle gang to join.

I loved working with my wife and together we created a business called Entertainment by Design (EBD).  EBD provided all kinds of photo products - from the traditional green screen digital pictures to flip photos to bookmarks, and more.  Historically, we always had a great relationship with Geoff Kretchmer and Star Trax.  In 2014, we merged into their operations and I became the Director of Fun. 

Geoff, who was voted least handy in the most recent mock elections, tagged me as someone who was “willing and able to learn how to work any product that came through the door.”  From the time I started here at Star Trax, we have added 21 new activity products to our inventory.  I learn how each product works and then train the staff how to use each piece of equipment at events.

The beauty of this community, and one of the greatest benefits of my job, is that I get the chance to meet and greet all the loyal Star Trax and EBD clients.  I get great pleasure knowing that I am providing the perfect product for them on their special day.  So when you are out at a party taking pictures, playing foosball, shooting on pop-a-shot or dipping your hands in wax, know that all of these products have Fish’s special touch. 

The relationship between Star Trax and Entertainment by Design could not have worked out better for both of us and I am so happy to be a part of the Star Trax Team.  Just ask Geoff, who is still trying to figure out how to turn the camera on.

 

By Brian Fishman