116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Jen English has a big family. And every time she would plan a birthday party or family celebration, she'd feel stressed.
Figuring that other parents and party planners were feeling the same way, she began a search for a space to host all the events she planned and offer an affordable option to others.
She launched the Family Room in March of this year to do just that.
'Thanks to my in-home party planning business, I was always looking for private spaces to rent that were within my budget and I was so stressed,” she said. 'It made sense to find my own spot to expand that part of my business. I've always planned kids' parties and I love that. Now, having the Family Room, it allows people to do more of a unique party outside of your house.”
English joked that she's a 'people collector,” making connections through her life and work, and that is what led to her finding the Central City location.
'A friend knew I was looking for a space and told me about this,” she recalled.
Ten minutes from Marion, the Family Room is located next door to Montana's Family Restaurant, on Main Street in Central City, and English said she and the restaurant's owners are working together on some catering options.
'So far the Central City community has been really responsive,” English said. 'There's a Christmas event coming up on Dec. 14 and we'll have a free craft for families that day.
'And we try to do something open to the public at least once a month, to bring people in here to see the space.”
The Family Room offers a host of special events, from craft nights and family game night to murder mystery dinners and corporate holiday parties. It has been used for a boudoir photo shoot, a vendor fair and a clothing swap.
The Family Room also boasts a mobile escape room that can be taken off-site to other events.
'It seems like every weekend we've had a kids' party in here,” she said. 'Our slime parties and mad scientist parties have been very popular.”
The name for he Family Room seemed to come naturally.
'This is a space to hold your events, but it's more than that,” English said. 'Family is really important, and I want this to be a place that takes the stress off moms and dads and gives them memories. That is what it is doing for our family, too.
'I tell people to think of it like the family room in your own house - it's a place to relax, decompress, make memories and make big messes.”
English and her husband manage the business.
'My husband is the setup guy, I am handling organizing the schedules, gathering supplies for upcoming events,” she explained.
'Scheduling can be tough because there is only so much time in the day and we are really booking up fast. The rest of 2019 is pretty full.”
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At a glance
' Owner: Jen English
' Business: The Family Room
' Address: 429 E Main St., Central City
' Phone: (319) 310-8020
' Website: facebook.com/gofamilyroom