In this economy, it’s become typical to see a lot of empty spaces. But the space that Ashauna Higgins has doesn’t stay empty for long.
“I hear people talk about needing somewhere to have some kind of gathering that they don’t want to have in their home,” says Higgins, whose venue, Contemporary Spaces – on Taylorsville Road just off Bardstown Road –provides just the setting for those gatherings.
“They don’t have room for 30 family members in their home, or they don’t have a church home or aren’t wealthy enough to be a part of a country club that offers those types of amenities, or it’s costly, or you have to use a certain caterer, and then it’s just a manila, plain, no-ambiance type environment,” she explains. “I wanted to create something that was affordable, had no restrictions and had character.”
It may be a tall order, but Higgins is happy to help fill it. Since opening the 1,700-square-foot facility this past fall, she has accommodated a hula hoop fitness class, a burlesque striptease workshop and a variety of other private functions; aside from classes, the space is geared toward intimate events such as birthday celebrations, bridal showers and game-watching parties. “There’s something different all the time,” she says. “We’re having a hypnosis smoking cessation workshop soon, and the coolest thing coming up is a perfume-making workshop. People will get a kick out of making their own and trying new things.”
Higgins likes trying different things herself. The self-described “entrepreneurial spirit” also works as an engineering headhunter, and teaches pole fitness classes at Modern Day Fitness downtown. But at Contemporary Spaces, she enjoys dealing with demographics not normally encounter in her recruitment or exercise endeavors. Her favorite Contemporary Spaces event, she says, involved a holiday dinner for a four-generation family that had recently lost its usual location.
“This family had had Christmas Eve dinner for 50 years at the father’s farm and he had recently moved into an assisted living facility,” Higgins recounts. “The family didn’t know what to do. They heard about us, rented the space, had a great time and booked it for next year. The man is 82 and he’s relieved to know his family will have this for a long time.”
Although there are no cooking facilities, renters are welcome to bring in their own food or hire a caterer through Higgins or on their own; for liquor service, a licensed bartender must be used. Renters pay $225 for three hours and have access to seating and tables for up to 60 people; Internet connectivity for Skype, devices or gaming, large-screen TVs, cable and surround sound. For those with more unplugged tastes, a permanent aquarium and fireplace lend ambiance.
Higgins is thinking ahead to the summer and ways to occupy the younger set. The Chicago native – with her partner Ron, a restaurant general manager – is parent to 14-year-old aspiring country singer Zaniah and 10-year-old “science and math guru” Yahnise. “There’s hardly anything for teenagers to do in the summer,” says Higgins. “At [my daughters’] age, they’re not quite old enough to get a summer job, and they want something to do.” Contemporary Spaces recently hosted a kids’ yoga workshop, and Higgins is exploring other such events.
Higgins says she wants Contemporary Spaces to feel “like your house, but not your house.”
“I want to be able to create that kind of thing for people because I’ve needed it myself.”
Contemporary Spaces is located at 2240 Taylorsville Road (in the same building as the 40205 post office). For more information, visit www.contemporaryspacesky.com or call (502) 354-3554.