My fiance and I were looking at Mitten building as a reception venue for our wedding. The inside is beautiful.
However, we found the business itself is completely unprofessional.
We stopped by one day and picked up some information and to take a quick look at the place. After seeing it, we decided that it was worth taking a second look at, even though the prices seemed pretty high and there were quite a few extra fees ($13 dollars for a bottle of Martinelli's apple cider? really?). We had read reviews on the Knot and other sites that indicated that they were willing to negotiate the price, so we called and left a message asking them to call back to make an appointment.
Then we waited...
And finally got a call back 3 WEEKS later, after having left two more messages. We explained to them that we'd like to meet with them the upcoming weekend as we would like to book our venues by the end of the year, and this was our only free weekend (since they had waited three weeks to call and make the appointment). They told us they were very busy, but could squeeze us in with Jeff. At this point, we were excited. We were even willing to pay the exorbitant prices if they were non-negotiable, but weren't going to settle for the ridiculous fees if we didn't have to. We had every intention of booking our date by the end of the meeting. All they had to do to impress us was to be more professional than University of Redlands (who did not even bother to show up or call to cancel our meeting that same morning). Sadly, I'd rather that they hadn't shown up.
We met at the building and waited in the office until Jeff eventually came out to meet us. We began by telling him that we really liked the building, but our only issue was the price point. We asked if the prices were negotiable he said it's possible, so we asked what was feasible and when. He said that if we booked before the end of Dec he could offer a $250 discount off the $4000 venue fee. He also remarked that since we were booking in advance, he couldn't justify giving us a discount more than that. He also told us that our date of April was during his "most popular seasons of Winter/Spring". We asked what months were less popular, and he replied "January and February", so we might be able to get a discount then (wait, isn't that winter?). When asking what kind of discount we could get for booking in January or February, he said that he couldn't really give us a discount. The backtracking was very confusing.
So I asked if some extras could be thrown into the price instead. Again, he replied yes, but couldn't give me any examples. I asked about the bartending sheet he had given us (admittedly, at this point I was getting very frustrated by his conflicting and confusing answers and was getting aggressive in my questioning). The bar must be supplied by the Mitten building and ranges from 6.50 to 9.50 per person, not including the actual drinks. I asked him why I was paying 650+ dollars for some plastic cups, ice, and a bartender that is costing him less than $200 for the evening. He told us that it included all corking fees and gratuity, and they don't nickle and dime people (wait, corking fees aren't nickle and diming?) However, the pricing sheet he had given us said that 16% gratuity was NOT included in the price. We ask him about this and he told us "We don't include that if you want to put a tip jar out, but most people don't because it's tacky." But, he had just finished telling us that gratuity was already included in the fees and couldn't explain why we now had to pay for it when he just said it was included!
At this point, we were very frustrated. My Fiance said "I'm very concerned here. We waited 3 weeks for you to call us after calling multiple times. Now we're having this meeting and you're not able to answer our questions clearly and are giving us confusing and misleading information. If this is how you treat us before you have our business, what are you going to do after you get our money?".
Jeff replied "We're a family run business, we don't have a call center answering phone calls whenever you call, and we've been very busy lately. In addition, I'm very emotional right now, because a friend of the family just died and we're holding the memorial service today."
At this point, we were totally ready to say, ok, that's completely reasonable and we're sorry that you lost your friend, perhaps we can meet at another time to talk about pricing. So, we were STILL considering the building for our reception, until Jeff continued:
"I am losing my temper, you can take the quote and that's ok, or find somewhere else which is fine too, and I'm ending the meeting now."
That was a bit surprising to say the least and came off as very unprofessional. Stressful and emotional things happen in life but if you run a business, you should still behave in a professional manner. What happens if something happens right before a wedding? Is the venue still going to be able to competently hold the event? I certainly wouldn't trust Mitten after meeting with them. We left the building completely disappointed and frustrated. Back to square one on venue hunting!