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A Few Minutes with...Patty Terstriep

By Les Sachs
WGEM Senior Editor

The dictionary describes ambiance as ďa special atmosphere or mood.Ē

The ambiance around Quincy resident Patty Terstriep is energy because she owns and operates The Ambiance, a 16,500-square-foot reception and banquet hall at 5225 Kochís Lane.

Terstriep decided Quincy needed an upscale, yet affordable, meeting place for large groups. Wedding receptions are a specialty in a hall marked by polished marble floors, waterfalls, decorative Roman columns and gilded walls.

She looked for just such a place for her daughterís wedding in 2004 and found Quincy wanting.

Now, she averages 1,100 telephone calls a month coordinating events, which take four or five days each to plan.

So Terstriep and her contractor husband, Luke, broke ground for the facility on July 1, 2004. It hosted its first event nine months later.

ďThe AmbianceĒ is already booking events into 2007. It hosted the Quincy High School prom in 2005 and will hold the Quincy Notre Dame prom this year.

Terstriep said the facility can be used as one hall or divided to host two events at the same time, and has had as many as 980 people under the same roof attending two different receptions.

Terstriep is the mother of five and also runs ďTrees and Treasures,Ē a seasonal gift shop and tree farm at 6930 Horseshoe Valley Road. The tree farm sells 20,000 trees every Christmas.

She also runs 12 miles a day ďto stay in shape.Ē
Terstriep said she has no formal advanced education other than one college course in accounting, and her first job was driving a delivery truck for UPS.

What is an average day like?
Very busy. My day starts at 6 a.m. and ends at 9:22 p.m. By 9:20, Iím ready for bed. On some weekend events Iíll start at 7 a.m. and not finish until 2:30 a.m. the next day. Iím a very hard worker. We put in a lot of time working on creative ideas. I make sure everything falls into place. Iím attentive to detail.

What drives you?
I love challenges. Iím not one to sit still. I like people (and) I want to make them happy. I want to make each wedding unique. Itís not my day, itís the brideís day.

What made you decide to try this venture?
I wanted to do something big. This type of hall was needed (and) I knew I could make it happen.

What advice would you give other entrepreneurs?
Do your homework. Know the area. Check out similar companies in other cities.

The secret to your success?
Iím very hands on. I stack chairs, I scrub the floors, everything passes my inspection. I treat the bride and groom as my own kids.

Is there anything you canít do?
Iím lost behind the bar. I let the bartenders have their own space.

Do you have any regrets?
Iíve got about an inch of dust on my golf cart (because sheís been too busy to play).

Her greatest accomplishment?
I have never had even one unhappy customer for any reason.

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