Coming this Fall, the team from Loft227 will bring together emerging artists, entrepreneurs, and their supporters under one roof at their new space: Town Stages.
Alarmed by the quickening pace of city-wide performances space closures in 2012, Robin Sokoloff took bold and decisive action building Loft227: A shared collaborative space connecting like-minded entrepreneurs and artists under one roof. With an emphasis on the advancement of young women, minority, and LGBTQ voices, Robin Sokoloff and her woman-led team run spaces in one of the most competitive real estate environments in the world so that their local community can self-sustain, and thrive.
At a crucial point in the Loft227’s growth, Rosario came on board as the Events and Venue Manager. Casandra Rosario produces results that make sense for small businesses through digital marketing, events and business strategy. Executing on Sokoloff’s vision for a new financial model for the arts and entrepreneurship, Rosario helped make Loft227 profitable in less than a year, and demand grew faster than they could have imagined.
“Casandra Rosario is a consummate hospitality professional with a proven track record developing unique social engagements in cities across America. Having built her own incredible New York City hospitality-based brand, Food Before Love, Casandra brought a huge fashion forward, creative, and business minded crowd ages 20 - 40 to Loft227. She hit the ground running, developing our social media presence and communicating our unique identity far beyond our network. We went from a word of mouth rental space to a must-have destination for any and every occasion, overnight. People didn’t just come for their one special day anymore. They began showing up for shows and events at Loft227 they had little or no connection to. We became everyone’s go-to home to hang, to experience something new, and connect with someone new. In a word, Casandra is unstoppable. We owe so much of our success to her efforts, across the board in marketing and management" says Founder & Executive Director, Robin Sokoloff.
With this increased awareness, Loft227 quickly reached it’s capacity. Sokoloff and her team were forced to turn away over 7,000 projects. For years, they’ve been hunting for a bigger facility to relocate to.
Casandra explains, “Sometimes, one of the hardest things to do in this city as a creative, is survive. It’s also not an easy task to do so gracefully. Loft227 gave a platform to everyone who was trying to make a name for themselves in their respective industries, despite the odds, which is something I’ve always admired. Finding a space to succeed as an entrepreneur is the true struggle many face in New York City. Considering the amount of care and love Robin and Scott have for this community, I have no doubt we can make Town that home for those seeking open minds and fertile ground for their development. I’m excited to see every play, launch, and landmark event that finds its first home with us, and watching how that helps their journey become what it’s meant to be.”
Starting construction Fall 2017, the new TOWN will feature a Cabaret Theater, a Mainstage, and multi-use Event Space; Capacity 229.
Sokoloff remarks on New York City’s changing landscape, concerned, but hopeful. “If New York is to remain a beacon of progressive cultural leadership on the world stage, a dramatic move is needed to solve our home grown real estate crisis. What good are shuttered theaters and vacant luxury condos? 35% of NYC’s storefronts are empty, and climbing. It’s time for a new approach to small business. No one can survive this alone. We’re building a new kind of creative home at TOWN where all are welcome to congregate, connect, and collaborate for the next fifteen years and beyond, and we are doing it together.”
Keeping a venue open isn’t easy, but Casandra and Robin have more than earned their stripes in the space game. Right before they met, a sudden shut-down at a previous location forced Rosario to find new homes for a calendar full of events. Sokoloff explains, “I’ll never forget the day I met Casandra. She called Loft227 explaining where she works was suddenly shut down. Obviously, this puts her out of a job. And yet - she was still taking the time to serve every single client and find them a place to relocate. She was looking out for them, going above and beyond; despite her own uncertain future. Anyone who’s ever tried to book a NYC venue knows it’s not easy. Anyone who’s ever tried to relocate several events all at once, is a goddamn hero. That’s the kind of person I want on my team. Casandra is a very special, hard working woman with impeccable character, a cool head, a huge heart, and big vision. No matter what this town throws at her, and the people she collaborates with, Casandra leads with what’s right, and what’s true.”
In 2015, Rosario was named one of the Top 10 Women to know in the Culinary space by Essence Magazine and she’s still killing it. This fall, she’ll be honored by the Rochester Institute of Technology with the 'Women Leaders In Hospitality Award'.
Check out her featured spot on 'Inside New York', with British Airways:
You can follow Casandra Rosario on her blog at FoodBeforeLove.com, and get updates as she builds TOWN at @TownStages. Stay tuned!