While living on the mainland years ago, Jess Potter tried speed-dating.
Then, when she moved to Vancouver Island, she wondered why no one was doing it, so she started holding the events herself, setting up her own business, Fresh Connections, in the process.
“Speed-dating is actually the reason I started Fresh Connections,” she says.
Her background was in linguistics, and she taught English as a second language and tutored, also operating her own business. Having a bit of an entrepreneurial streak, the Comox Valley woman started holding date nights herself in late 2017 and has been putting them on these last couple of years.
This month, she’s holding two more nights in the Comox Valley, which will follow on the heels of events in Nanaimo and Victoria. There are usually 200 to 300 at each event.
“I’m expecting around 2,000 first dates this month,” she estimates.
The speed-date nights take place Oct. 24 and 25 at the Comox Valley Curling Club. The first night is geared toward people 50 and older, while the second is for those 19 and up. However, she says, if, say, someone in their 40s would prefer the night geared toward the older crowd, they can do so. She also likes to hold different types of events with different activities each time out.
At the events, the men move to a different table every five to eight minutes, and at the end of each date, they privately answer yes/no as to whether they want to continue the conversation. After the event, Fresh Connections processes the responses and contacts mutual matches by email within a few days of the event.
There are several advantages of speed dating, which Potter found out first-hand, including less pressure from not having to devote an entire evening to one other person. You get to meet a dozen people, so you speed up the process of finding that person who’s just right. Or sometimes you might even discover new friends or new activities that you might not have considered otherwise. Even though you spend short time periods with each person, you still get that face-to-face interaction as an alternative to online interactions.
“You get that better connection in person,” she says.
As well, these are hosted events, so women can rest assured they’re in a friendly environment. It’s designed to be an alternative to the online dating world.
“The events are open to the general public,” she says.
Fresh Connections does offer memberships, which means perks, such as discounts for tickets and deals at participating businesses that could provide a nice location for a later, more intimate date. She has several businesses taking part and is hoping to build more partnerships. She particularly likes to work with local businesses.
“I try and suggest local places as much as I can,” she says.
For more Fresh Connections and other upcoming events, check out their website.