Geoff Garrett wants to bring his so-called “grazing” habit to the masses.
In August, Garrett’s company For2 held the first of what’s planned to be consistent monthly social mixers in the Richmond region.
Held in local restaurants, the events bring together dozens of people who Garrett said come out in search of a new romantic interest. But the events seek to spark friendships as well.
“It’s a group of people coming to our partner restaurants to talk in small groups and learn what they have in common and make meaningful connections,” Garrett said. “It’s like speed dating in groups.”
Participants register for the events beforehand on the company’s website. For2 emails them ice-breaker questions to drive conversations in small groups that rotate throughout the events.
The company’s mixers have their origins in the founder’s pastime of leisurely group restaurant outings, which he started while in Chicago a few years ago.
“I was spending a lot of time at restaurants with friends. We called it grazing, like the way sheep graze in a field. We’d stay at a restaurant for hours and create connections with each other and the restaurant,” he said.
The habit followed the Detroit native when he moved to Richmond, where he worked in the local Troutman Pepper office from August 2018 to December 2021.
Garrett is no longer with Troutman Pepper and currently lives in New York but said he’s about to start with an unidentified law firm and is moving back to Richmond, where For2 will be based. For2 will be a side gig for him.
Garrett said he picked Richmond for the company’s first market because the city is significant to him personally and what he thinks is a natural fit for his concept.
“When I’m in Richmond, I feel like I am at home. Someone touched my heart at Secret Sandwich Society, so Richmond will always be a special place,” the 35-year-old said. “We’re focused on Richmond because of the community-first culture where people are accepted and built up.”
Garrett said For2 gives him an avenue to channel his interest in building interpersonal relationships, a passion he said stems from his experiences moving frequently.
“The constant current throughout my life has been searching for connection,” he said. “These relationships that spring from the events have roots. They’re building deep connections.”
For2’s revenue is generated by ticket sales for each event, which aim to have around 35 attendees. Garrett said individual agreements with restaurants to secure the spaces that serve as the venues can vary. Generally, For2 pockets the ticket proceeds and the restaurant keeps the money made on drinks and food.
Garrett said thus far tickets have been sold for $20 apiece, but he was thinking about upping the price.
The company’s August social mixer was held at Manchester’s Table, a restaurant in Manchester that is planned to be the venue for the October event as well. In September, For2 held a social mixer at Les Crepes in Carytown. Garrett said 30 people attended its mixer at Les Crepes.
For2 launched about a year ago but only held a couple events prior to August’s mixer, which Garrett described as a grand opening of sorts for the concept that has been fine-tuned in the months leading up to the start of the accelerated calendar.
Garrett took his concept through the spring 2021 session of Startup Virginia’s Idea Factory, a product-discovery course run by the local business incubator. During the program, he spent some time going door-to-door locally to pitch the idea to eateries, which is how he found the venues he’s used thus far.
“I went into all these restaurants and pitched this concept and hit it off with them,” he said.
Thinking longer-term, Garrett said he intends to roll out additional products and services as part of the For2 brand but declined to elaborate on those plans. He also plans to expand the concept beyond Richmond.