Phil Castle, The Business Times
Kathi Pewters has experienced the difficulties and frustrations of meeting single people in the Grand Valley.
Dates set up by well-meaning friends haven’t worked out for the active woman in her 50s, and she’s reluctant to try to meet people in night clubs. She’s not impressed with online dating sites, either. “It feels like you’re shopping for a used car,” she says. “That’s not the experience I want and understand others don’t want. It lacks the emotional connection.”
Pewters says she was so exasperated at one point she considered selling her house and moving to the Front Range to have more opportunities to meet single people — even though she otherwise enjoys living in the Grand Valley.
Pewters decided instead to start a professional dating service to provide safe, enjoyable and convenient ways for single people like her to meet. She says she’s drawn on her experiences in developing what she describes as an elegant and sophisticated alternative to online dating. “What would feel comfortable to me? What would I want out of a service such as this?”
Pewters operates a service she’s named, aptly enough, It’s a Date.
She helps members of the service complete profiles and make videotaped introductions. She identifies potential matches based on information she’s gleaned from consultations, profiles and ongoing conversations. She arranges dates, then follows up afterwards to adjust the matchmaking process as needed.
Depending on what level of service members want, they’re guaranteed a minimum of six or 12 dates.
In addition to dates, Pewters hosts events at which members have an opportunity to meet freely.
While Pewters hopes to ultimately expand It’s a Date, she’s focused for now on Mesa County and Western Colorado.
Pewters offers varying levels of service — including six- and 12-month memberships, but also assists clients with their personal profiles.
The process starts, she says, with registration and a discreet and confidential consultation during which she discusses various service options, how people see themselves and what they’re looking for in the people they’d like to meet. Members complete a profile and make a brief videotape that serves as an introduction.
Pewters uses the information from the consultation and profile to match people with like-minded people. She suggests potential matches to members and, with their approval, schedules dates.
Pewters says she handles the details of the dates to take the pressure off those involved so they can spend time getting to know each other. Depending on the preferences of members, first dates range from a simple meeting over coffee to dinner to some sort of activity.
At the end of the date, members are free to exchange business cards or phone numbers and make plans to meet again. They’re also free to proceed in the process and meet someone else.
Pewters says an important part of her service is the ongoing conversations in which she engages with members after dates to assess what they liked and didn’t like to fine tune the matchmaking process.
The basis of compatibility varies considerably, Pewters says. “I think it depends on the person.”
Some people are looking for personalities similar to their own. For others, opposites attract. Some people think they’re looking for one thing only to discover if they maintain an open mind they’re actually looking for something else, she says.
That’s when an outside perspective sometimes helps, she adds.
Pewters says most of her members are looking for long-term relationships. She believes she can help find them — and arrange their last first date. “There’s somebody out there for everyone,” she says.
Along with one-on-one dates, It’s a Date hosts what Pewters calls meet-and-greet events open to all members. Members have an opportunity to meet others freely and exchange information if they’d like. The important distinction of the events, she says, is that everyone there is single and interested in meeting others.
Pewters says she hopes to develop partnerships between her business and other local businesses that provide services to singles, including coffee shops, restaurants and wineries. She says she’ll send members on dates and host events at their venues. In return, they’ll provide VIP treatment to her members as well as perhaps offer coupons for subsequent dates and events.
Pewters has great expectations for It’s a Date and plans to ultimately expand the operation in terms of its geographic service area as well as staffing. “This company’s going to grow into something big,” she says.
For now, though, Pewters says she wants to expand membership and focus on the needs of her members while also providing what she says she knows from experience is a needed service in Mesa County.
“This is about making it nice for singles to live here,” she says.
For more information about It’s a Date, available services and membership, visit www.itsadate4u.com.