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Finding local entertainment

Staff Writer

Published: Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 17:09

 

August 23rd, the first day back to class. It was a tremendous day. There were people everywhere. College Ave was littered with kiosks, promoting everything from the Zipcar to International Studies. Out of the blue, one catches my eye. “336 Events,” it reads. Where have I seen that before?  That’s right! It was in the office back home in Winston where I work. What was that my manager told me, something about a big group of people coming through and eating our store down to the bare walls?

I met the responsible party, local entrepreneur Steven Czumaj. Turns out he’s been doing this kiosk thing for a while – four years to be exact. He is an event organizer of sorts, and runs a website called 336events.com. From a brief overview, it is more or less a calendar of events and press releases for local goings-on. Beyond that, you can read movie and restaurant reviews, post events and even print off coupons and gift certificates if you register on the site for free.

According to his data, Steve says he had about 140,000 Triad residents use his site. The audience seems to consist of a decent mix of both a younger crowd, and middle age people. This is a particularly exciting time for the site – which just recently launched a separate nightlife site (336nightlife) and a “local buzz” link which directs users to PSAs, hot off the press Triad events, and the like.

In order to learn a little more about the man and this very large, functional website I was navigating, I wrangled Mr. Czumaj for an interview.

Q: So from a business perspective, what functionality do you offer? Why would businesses choose to advertise with you, as opposed to another site, or a paper like The Rhinoceros Times?

A: We believe that our packages for business offer a great value for the price. Additionally, a business could advertise with us if they wanted to reach out to all of the Triad, instead of just Greensboro or Winston-Salem.

Q: Do you work with non-profits or charities? What about city-sponsored events?

A: We work with plenty of various local organizations and charities. We also work with the different cities of the Triad to put their events on our calendar. We’re promoting the First Friday with Downtown Greensboro, which is on September 3rd.

Q: Can you give me a little personal background?

A: I got into booking bands in 1998, which sort of lead into this opportunity. I play in a local 80’s cover band called The Plaids. I was a Finance major, and I took some M.B.A. classes at UNCG, and taught at Guilford Tech for a time.

Q: Are there any opportunities for college students to get involved?

A: Absolutely. We have six interns from UNCG working with us right now, so we are always trying to reach out to students.

Q: Are there any major changes coming to your site?

A: Well, the last year in particular has seen considerable development and change for the site. We’re currently looking at condensing the deals and coupons to put them within the  336events site rather than a separate one, to improve functionality and ease of use for users.

Q: What has been your most rewarding experience in business so far?

A: Probably the “Bar Crawl” that you mentioned. We had about 275 people show up to it, and they had a lot of fun while supporting a wonderful cause, ICAN (Interactive Collaborative Autism Network). All in all, we ended up raising a decent sum of money. The only thing is, people in Greensboro are upset about the good time all the guys in Winston had, so we might have to one here, too!

Q: Last but not least, anything upcoming that you’re especially excited about?

A: Little Black Dress Party, September 17th at Greene Street. We’re promoting it through 336nightlife. It’s a $5 cover if you’re wearing a little black dress, and ladies are free before 11PM. It should be a great time.

All in all, I have to say that my interview with Steven was pretty awesome. Beyond that, his site is just plain useful. How many times have you heard someone say, “What’s going on tonight?” For an answer to that, there’s 336events. If you’ve got a Friday or Saturday that you just don’t know what to do with, it’s going to solve the problem. Or if you’re just an active, interested citizen who wants to participate in something, there’s a niche for you, too. I came away pretty impressed with what a website like this offers our local community, and I hope you at least check it out once rather than doom yourself to a night of re-reading textbooks.

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