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Entrepreneur turns picnic fun into business

  • Chelsea Rowe (Contributed photo)
  • Available for bookings at least one week in advance, Rowe and her team create tailored picnic experiences in Forsyth Park, Savannah’s downtown squares, the north end of Tybee Island, boating picnics delivered dockside, as well as at people’s homes. (Contributed photo)
  • A year ago, Rowe founded The Savannah Picnic Company. (Contributed photo)

Chelsea Rowe has always loved a great picnic — and she thinks everyone else should, too.

A year ago, Rowe founded The Savannah Picnic Company, a luxury full-service picnic experience company, and built success on what she enjoys.

“I love picnics. It’s that simple,” said Rowe. “I believe the best place to hang out with your friends is outside over food.”

Since Rowe launched her high-end picnic outfit at Savannah’s Picnic in the Park last year, Rowe has designed bespoke picnics for bachelorette parties, teenage birthdays, corporate picnics catering to 600 people, wedding proposals, and fiftieth birthday celebrations.

Inspired by her love of packing picnics for her four children and husband, Joseph, and hosting dinner parties for friends in her backyard, Rowe wanted to do something bigger.

“I was looking for someone to create a picnic for a larger group of us in the park,” she said. “I was shocked because I couldn’t find someone to do it. I thought, I’m going to fill this niche. And Joseph encouraged me.”

Six months later, The Savannah Picnic Company was born.

Available for bookings at least one week in advance, Rowe and her team create tailored picnic experiences in Forsyth Park, Savannah’s downtown squares, the north end of Tybee Island, boating picnics delivered dockside, as well as at people’s homes.

Each picnic includes a plush, waterproof blanket, china, flatware, glasses, pillows, blankets, flower arrangements, and, of course, bug spray.

To ensure fresh flowers at every picnic, Rowe partners with local floral company Carlstedt’s and then uses the flowers to design her own bouquets, depending on her client’s needs and personality.

“Each picnic is different; it’s not a cookie-cutter experience,” Rowe explained. “My clients trust me to customize their picnic for their events. I work with them to see what their favorite colors, flowers, and foods are. I learn if they have bold personalities, classic, or traditional. I’ll mute the colors or ramp them up and brighten them to fit the occasion.”

From there, Rowe creates a picnic experience unique to each client.

“The bachelorette morning breakfast picnics in Forsyth are always lovely. They look beautiful in their matching outfits,” she said. “They crack me up because they have so much fun. We’ll make the picnic about to be about three times the normal size. They have such a blast.”

One client asked Rowe to have bowls of the client’s teenage son’s favorite candies, as well as fried chicken, his favorite food. “He loved seeing all of his candy there at once for his birthday,” Rowe remembered.

Rowe sources a wide arrangement of local food to fit each occasion. She has steady partnerships with local food purveyors, such as Le Café Gourmet, where Rowe sources croissants, fruit tarts, and other sweet treats; Café M for savory treats, such as salads and quiche; and Smith Brothers Butcher Shop, for sandwiches and meats.

Her husband, Joseph, the owner of Rowe Construction Inc., builds all of the tables for the Savannah Picnic Company.

The two-person picnics are a flat rate of $189 including food and increases in price for each additional guest. “The price doesn’t increase for personalization,” Rowe explained. “That’s part of each package.”

“It’s a balance between organization and creativity,” Rowe said. “I needed a creative outlet; I’m a creative person and I wanted something creative to do so I designed these little living rooms that go into the park. It’s one of the best things to do in the city.”

Rowe offers other packages through The Savannah Picnic Company, such as pop-up dinner parties, desk dates, corporate picnics and dockside deliveries.

“The pop-up dinner parties are a hit with the local crowd,” she said. “We’ll host them in the park or the client’s backyard, as long as it’s safe for my staff members and me to come in.” The pop-up dinner parties include tables, tablecloths, chairs, fine china, and food.

The company picnic serves a minimum of 50 people.

And the pop-the-question package includes an on-the-spot photographer.

Rowe acquires most of her business through word-of-mouth, as well as through the Lucky Savannah app.

“Lucky Savannah is a vacation rental business and their guests can download the app, which then gives them ideas of things to do in Savannah,” she said. “Savannah Picnic Company is listed on the app, so we’ll garner quite a through bookings through Lucky Savannah.”

Rowe also markets her company through Facebook and Instagram and through networking in the business arena of downtown Savannah.

Rowe, who handles all the business herself – from the picnic design to managing the company’s Instagram account to building the company website - is in the process of her next business venture.

“I’m going to create a line of picnic goods. ...” she said. “Now I’m ready to go full steam ahead.”

For picnic bookings, please visit www.savannahpicniccompany.com.

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