With 60 years of events and catering jobs under its belt, Landerhaven is not hosting events for the first time in a long time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Harlan Diamond, president and CEO, said the building closed after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s order to temporarily shutter all non-essential businesses as Landerhaven didn’t make the cut.
“We’re just waiting for the go,” said Diamond, a Bratenahl resident. “You can’t do what you can’t do. So, we’re just looking forward to the opportunity where we can be of service to the community.”
Due to the temporary closure, Diamond said a few changes took effect internally.
“Our business is being of service to people and sharing in their events,” he said. “We’ve got 60 years of sharing wonderful events with people and for the community to be part of the social and economic structure of the community. So when the governor says to close, you close. When it’s best for you to lay off your staff to help protect them, you do it. But the second best thing has been staying in touch, which we’ve been doing. We talk with our employees on a week-to-week basis.”
Though employees are technically furloughed, two or three staff members regularly report to check the building maintenance and condition while it is not being used. Diamond, who attends Park Synagogue in Cleveland Heights and Pepper Pike, added the rest of the staff has been understanding as the situation changes.
“Most of them seem to be really open with the situation,” he said. “The government has stepped up very quickly and our industry and employees recognize the need to be flexible and deal with it.”
Diamond said customers have also been gracious as events are postponed.
“They’ve been really kind,” he said. “They’ve been wonderful. They understand there is not much that we or they can really do to change this. It’s just amazing how nice people are. It goes to show that over the years when you’ve been with people and are part of a community, it’s a two-way street. I’d just like them to know that we have been here for a number of years and we’ll be back at it again soon. We’re still going to be here. We want to continue sharing the good times and occasions. When they need someone to help them in those moments, we’ll be there for them.”
But as the pandemic stretches into it’s third month, Landerhaven is finding ways to engage it’s clients. With a high school graduation ceremony scheduled for May 19, the event venue, alongside Q Audio Visual, is now hosting drive-in events.
“It basically follows all of the social distancing rules that the CDC has put out, and is a red carpet-style event where everyone is parked facing big LED screens and a stage,” Melissa Marik, COO and vice president, sales and marketing at Landerhaven, said. “Only two kids will be out of the car at once, with one preparing to go on the stage and one on the stage. We wanted to give the class of 2020 the opportunity for a more traditional graduation.”
Currently, the graduations are the only drive-in events Landerhaven is holding, but Marik said there have been talks to offer more.
“We did have a customer ask if we could hold a drive-in wedding,” she said. “Honestly, in true Landerhaven style, anything is possible. I wouldn’t be surprised if we become more creative to accommodate our guests.”
Though comfortable with the idea Landerhaven will withstand the effects of the pandemic, Diamond said the future remains unclear.
“I have no idea, we’re just hanging in and waiting it out,” he said. “The employees are waiting for us and we’re waiting for the state, so it is what it is. There is no way for us to guess the future, so we’re just going to wait and see what happens. It’s all we can do.”