Nick Blake is someone you want as your friend. “Growing up in Minnesota, I was always the ‘planner’ in my group,” says Blake, who would not only organize trips to the movies and food court, but also plan unique experiences like the 4-Minute Party. Classmates—upwards of 150 of them—would stop by Blake’s locker between third and fourth period. “We’d gather, crack open a pop, dance our hearts out for four minutes, and then head to our next class,” he says. In college Blake created the Super Happy Fun Day, “an all-day outing of random fun things strung together, all of which were a surprise to my friends.” It’s no surprise, then, that Blake has made a living out of creating experiences for groups.
Naturally, Blake went into the events industry after college, working at the Chicago-based Event360 (while living in Minnesota) with clients like Susan G. Komen for five years. Blake then got a job with LivingSocial, a startup at the time, where he fostered his entrepreneurial spirit while building the event arm of the company. When LivingSocial stopped doing events, Blake joined the travel team and led the Midwest region for LivingSocial Escapes. “[This job] offered me the opportunity to work with a wide variety of businesses and really fueled my passion for local,” Blake says. “Getting to work with these hardworking bed-and-breakfast owners that love hospitality was very inspiring, and gave me the motivation to take on the next chapter of starting my own small business.”
GetKnit Events, which Blake started on St. Patrick’s Day in 2013, fuses together the concepts of “supporting local and creating community.” Partnering with local organizations to bring people together through exploring different industries like beer, art, adventure, sightseeing and food, Blake struck a chord. “The local experience is what we’re all hungry for—as it really showcases the diversity of an area, the passions of its residents, and of course the flavors and scenes that make that city, region, or state so special,” he says.
During his time in the corporate world, Blake saw a desire from companies to involve their teams in interactive ways: “As an employee on many of those [corporate] teams, I was tired of the same bland team outings that were constantly being offered.” Blake and his team of Local Gurus work with clients through the entire process, either creating a customized event or arranging a “preknit” event package like Canoeing & Wine Tasting, Curling & Craft Beer and Arts & Ales. “We allow our clients to define the finish line, and we train and run the race for them, tapping them in right before they cross that line so they get the joy and glory of that experience,” he explains.
“I’ve met so many people that live in the greater Twin Cities area that have never walked around Lake Calhoun, or traveled north to Duluth, or explored the beer scene outside of their immediate 5-mile bubble. This is not because of a lack of desire, but a lack of planning,” says Blake. “We make it easy for individuals and large corporate groups alike to get out and explore their surroundings.”