We had the good fortune of connecting with Laurie Davidson-Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Laurie, how do you think about risk?
As a former collegiate athlete, I think ‘risking it’ has always been a part of my life, While pitching for the University of Georgia, we has the saying, ‘Risk and Adjust’, which helped us push the limit without fear, knowing that we could always recover if things did not go our way. This rings true on the softball field as well as off the field in life. My wife and business partner, Michele Smith, is also not afraid to lean in and take a risk when it comes to new ventures. Michele is a two-time Olympic gold-medalist softball pitcher and currently works on-air as an ESPN analyst, so she is well versed in ‘risking and adjusting’. As a pitcher, you are constantly taking a risk every time the ball leaves your hand. We may not be lacing up our cleats anymore, but now we find our new challenge in real estate projects. As avid cyclist, many of our new projects are found while on two wheels. A ride past an old run down gas station in the Grand Central District 6 years ago began the first of many preservation endeavors that now houses the comfort-food hotspot Urban Brew & BBQ. On to the next project… Loads of elbow grease and months of renovations transformed our next project, a ramshackle relic of Old Florida motel into what is now Sunset Inn and Cottages, which consistently ranks as TripAdvisor’s #1 hotel in Treasure Island. We had setbacks almost daily with this project, while we learned how to bounce back and find new ways to make our business a success. Most recently, we spotted a long-vacated, run-down laundromat, our newest project was born: The West Events, the area’s newest event venue. We preserved the structural integrity and industrial soul of this mid-century building and incorporated modern design elements. Exposed brick, wooden accent walls, polished concrete floors, and industrial lighting create the perfect backdrop for any occasion, from wedding receptions to corporate events. The West Events offers guests unlimited versatility to transform this industrial-chic space into the Instagram-inspired, Pinterest-pinned venue of their dreams. I’d say we’ve learned how to ‘risk and adjust’ quite well. :).

What should our readers know about your business?
We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. As Tampa Bay’s newest beachside venue, The West Events has been hosting weddings, birthday parties, corporate events, and many other events that bring people together over the last year. When looking at venues along the Gulf Coast, there are almost no blank slate spaces. From Pass-a-Grille all the way up to Clearwater, there are little options if you would like to host your wedding somewhere other than one of the large chain hotels. Not everyone loves the corporate feel and floral carpet ballrooms that most of the beach hotels provide, so we saw an opportunity in the marketplace. Often you are one of many events occurring on site at some of these large properties. At The West Events, our clients have the entire space, including 5,000 square feet of indoor space and an additional 2,000 square feet in the outdoor courtyard. With a non-traditional backdrop of raw brick walls and polished concrete floors and the freedom to transform this blank canvas into the Instagram-inspired, Pinterest-planned venue of their dreams. Michele and I can’t wait to host you in the future for your next big soiree! www.thewesteventspace.com

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
OMG! I love this question… Here my perfect itinerary for the Tampa Bay Area! 9:00am- Breakfast & Coffee @ Craft Kafe 10:30am- Sip & Dry Blowout Bar w/ bottle service (gotta look our best for the day) 12:00pm- Lunch @ Oxford Exchange & post lunch libation at the Champagne Bar! 2:00pm- Walk off lunch at the St. Pete Pier 4:00pm- Outerlife Studios- Escape Room for a little challenge- this escape room is like no other! 5:30pm- Dinner at Lolitas Wine Market 7:00pm- Head back towards the beach and hit the beach to watch the sunset down on Sunset Beach.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
While we were finishing the remodel for the event space, I was desperately trying to piece together our winning team of vendors, from wedding planners, florist, entertainment, to caterers, bartending services, and rentals. I wanted to take this moment to recognize a few of the vendors that helped us in our 1st year of business. Opening up an event space 2 months before covid hit was no joke, so it took an army of amazing vendors to help lift us up. Sarah & Matt Winter, owners of Total Entertainment by Matt Winter Diana Homan, owner of DK Event Planning Cortney Taylor, owner of CB Lundy’s Bartending Service Sue Keirn & Lisa Williams, owners of Tide the Knot Beach Weddings Vanessa Charles & Randy Johnson, Vanessa- Brainchild of Amplify & Breathwork Facilitator Randy- owner of Xplicid DJ Services Thanks to these folks for keeping our spirits up and keeping our dreams alive!

Website: www.thewesteventspace.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/thewestevent

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/69962913

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheWestEventsFL

Facebook: www.facebook.com/thewestevent

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4GMnHSY5b8FnAADPlOrPmQ

Image Credits
Photography: @amandazabphoto, @stephanielanniphoto, @jessicacphotography (instagram handles)

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutMiami is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.