Love and Locally Sourced Products

PHOTO BY: Lauren Harrienger Photography

BY: Rachel Burt
Jennifer Pfeiffer, owner of Pineapple & Peony Events, likes to keep things local- even down to her business cards.
 

    Currently based out of the Lyric Coffee House in Clayton, which has been in her family for the past 14 years, Pineapple & Peony gained its name because the pineapple is the symbol of welcome and hospitality and the peony is Jenn’s favorite flower. 

    “What better to go with events than food and décor?” she said, pointing to a bun atop her head. “I always like to joke that my hair is always in a pineapple because that’s business mode.” 

    Exposed at a young age due to her family owning a Bed & Breakfast while she was growing up, which hosted weddings and other events, Jennifer grew up in the hospitality industry. 

Jennifer Pfeiffer poses for a portrait in Lyric Coffee Shop on Friday in Clayton. Julia Hopkins/NNY Weddings

    When she was 18, she started going down to Florida and working at country club called Loblolly in Hobe Sound doing larger scale, fancier events and really honing her service skills. 

    Through her family’s business at the Lyric, she has had an outlet to do events for friends and things on the side, but as a business of its own, Pineapple & Peony really started about a year and a half ago when Jenn started working at Clayton’s Antique Boat Museum coordinating facility rentals. Through this experience, which she said is, in essence, party planning, but more focused on the venue rather than the weddings, she realized what she really wanted to do was the other side of things. 

    “I really love helping people, helping make people happy makes me happy,” she said. “If I can create an experience or be part of an experience, I get emotional; I will sit in the back and cry because it’s just, there’s so much joy that I see other people having, and that’s what keeps me going.” 

    Now, the 32-year-old Toronto born entrepreneur has thoughts of expanding, with the goal set of having her own office space by next summer- though she said using the Lyric has been convenient and she knows she can always offer a good cup of coffee to potential clients. 

    At the Lyric, they sell locally made products along with their selection of beverages and treats, and Jenn said with her business she really wants to support other small businesses trying to get their names out there. This is evidenced by past events she’s worked on, such as a bridal expo at the Antique Boat Museum and a photo shoot at the St. Lawrence Spirits Château, where everything from the floral arrangements to the buttercream for the display cake came from local vendors. 

    “I’m all about building the community and kind of working together with people, I think that’s one of my favorite aspects of the industry,” she said. “That’s what I think is important in our small community to be able to build those people up, so anytime I’m doing weddings, I give suggestions, but if it’s not what you’re looking for that’s fine, but I’d rather be experienced and say I know how these people work.” 

    Though her favorite term for what she does is ‘chaos coordinating,’ Jennifer knows that weddings can be stressful for couples and wants to provide a support system for them as best she can. There with them from start to finish, she said helping people obtain some peace of mind is important to her. 

    Equally important, in her opinion, is getting to know her couples before their special days. 

    “I feel when someone is trusting me with that experience, it’s a very intimate thing, you need to be able to connect with people,” she said. 

    Though a little awkward at first, making that connection and then meeting their families is crucial. Jennifer said she always likes to meet a mother or a sister or someone who can give some insight on the people because building those connections helps her to be able to understand them better. 

    Her process is as follows: To meet people and then kind of go through and ask them what their expectations are and what they need help with and then going through her end and really just formulate a game plan that can customize to what their needs are for her role in their lives. 

    Because Jennifer’s family has always had close ties with the hospitality industry, she and her sister, Andrea Roden, have always talked about partnering up and working together, though Andrea doesn’t necessarily want to do it full time. According to Jennifer, she would be the lead and her sister would help out with the business when she could. Because this kind of stuff comes so naturally to them, Jenn said she and her sister make a great team. 

    “What’s funny is when I was about 15, I was like, ‘I am never going to be in the [hospitality] business’ and here we are, I don’t think I can do anything else,” she said. “Honestly, I’ve tried other things, I love working and I’ve always had different jobs growing up, but it’s always come back to the hospitality and just helping people.” 

    Those interested in the business can follow Pineapple & Peony Events @pineappleandpeonyevents on Instagram and Facebook.