Memories more precious than anything you can buy

Jaunt Events owner sells experiences

May 2, 2012

As wallets tightened and jobs evaporated, people turned away from some of the consumerism that drove them in the pre-recession era.

"Most of us have more than we need because we've been so consumer-oriented with things. And I think now we're looking at, 'Wait a second! What do we really value?' " said Patti Klainot, owner of Jaunt Events and Excursions.

For a growing number of people, the value has been found in making memories - even if that means paying someone, like Klainot, to help construct them.

It's a business Klainot dreamed up as she looked for an alternative to her career as a certified occupational therapy assistant.

"What I came up with is what I had been doing - and not even realizing - and that was special event management," Klainot said.

As a co-creator of the Village Green Street Fair and volunteer for Diva Night with the Wauwatosa Business Improvement District, Klainot had years of experience organizing large-scale events in the village. She also had experience with business events, planning day trips for a retirement community and co-producing a travel program for about 20 years for her husband's company.

"I really just enjoy helping people create memories," Klainot said. "I thought the only deficit I had was I really wanted some education behind me."

So, she spent two years at Milwaukee Area Technical College, formally studying event management while working her full-time job, plus a part-time gig. Last year, she started Jaunt Events and Excursions, a name she hoped would embody the spirit of her business.

"Jaunt means journey and expedition and frolic. Our life is an adventure. Everything we do in our lives is a journey. And events tie that all together," Klainot said.

So far, she has done everything from planning weddings to organizing a health fair for a local chiropractor. In the future, Klainot hopes to delve into culinary events and cultural tourism, perhaps working with the Wolf River Council on Tourism to share the culture of a Native American tribe in Crandon, or creating tours of German neighborhoods in Chicago, where people could shop the markets for ethnic food and hear the native language.

"It's not just a drive-by; it's experiencing that culture," Klainot explained. "… It's memorable and so much more rewarding than a thing you leave behind."


BUSINESS: Jaunt Events and Excursions

ADDRESS: 1843 Church St.


PHONE: (414) 258-1185

OWNER: Patti Klainot



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