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Business Spotlight :: Mountain Memories at ThorpeWood

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Imagine a space located across 155 acres of pristine woods in the beautiful Catoctin Mountains. A space that can provide you a gorgeous lodge, rustic pavilions or barns, or even just open space with serene, natural beauty for any of your upcoming special events or retreats, including weddings, business meetings, private parties and much more. A space that also supports the community by providing free services to several local nonprofits. Sounds too good to be true, right?

Mountain Memories at ThorpeWood is a hidden gem nestled 1,500 feet up the mountain in Thurmont, Maryland, offering top-notch wedding and event management and services. A place that you’ll fall in love with the minute you step on to the grounds!

Give us a brief description of your business and what you do.

Mountain Memories at ThorpeWood is a private event location for weddings, corporate retreats or any other special event. With over 20 years combined experience, our staff provides exceptional customer service and attention to detail. Owner/Director, Julie Castleman, or assistant director, Lexi Hartner, work directly with clients to assure top-notch customer service and personal attention.

What makes your business stand out?

Most venues book more than one event per day and charge for day-of coordination — we don’t. We strive to provide excellent service, from our client’s first tour to the tearing down of their event. We are also passionate about giving back to our community and offer our lodge and grounds to non-profit organizations free of charge.

What is a typical day like at your business?

While we are busiest during the warmer months, we’re still busy year-round with other events, communicating with clients, writing contracts, meeting with clients, answering inquiries, and assisting with the care of our vast property. Throughout the year we work one-on-one with every client to ensure their event is seamless and stress free. There are many weddings, but also corporate retreats, non-profit events, bridal and baby showers, memorial services and more.

What is it like to work for your business?

It’s a fun and enjoyable place to work — not to mention that we’re located in such a beautiful setting! We’ve started a legacy — NINE former clients are now part-time employees of Mountain Memories at ThorpeWood, including Assistant Director, Lexi Hartner! Brides and grooms alike — facility manager, cleaning staff, weekend events staff and our landscaper.

What is the best part about what you do?

Helping people create an event, a retreat or party and watch the event unfold! Holding their hand through every step!

Most challenging?

Convincing a potential client that we have so much more to offer than other venues…getting them in the door can often turn into a booking.

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Who are your customers?

We offer events for all stages of life, so our clients can be just about anyone! From our 3 to 5 year-old Head Start children to someone celebrating their 90th birthday! We have engaged couples looking for a wedding venue, those who’ve lost loved ones looking to hold a memorial service, expectant mothers looking for a shower location, and lots of non-profits! Some of the organizations that use our space include The National Christian Choir, Frederick Marriage Resource Center, Maryland Student Legislature, Johns Hopkins, Frederick County Public Schools, Immersion Active, Flying Dog Brewery, Department of Social Services…you name it! We enjoy working with all types of businesses, organizations and individuals!

What is the single most critical talent you possess in your business role?

Julie loves people and has a knack for working with anyone. She loves teaching and giving back. She appreciates a great challenge and meets it head on! Both she and Lexi are very patient and can quickly take the stress from a client who is worried about the weather, decorations, food, or any other aspect of their event.

When you’re not running your business, what are you doing?

In June 2017, Julie helped her daughter, Hannah, and son-in-law, Dylan, plan their beautiful wedding at Mountain Memories at ThorpeWood and enjoyed being the Mother of the Bride! A fun memory, among many, is that two days following Julie’s daughter’s wedding, Lexi, who was the lead staff for the wedding, gave birth to her fourth child! So, Lexi is now the mother of four and loves spending time with family and friends. Her husband is a Frederick County Firefighter. Julie volunteers for ThorpeWood, LLC’s Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) program. She and her husband, Sam, who is the Program Director for ThorpeWood LLC, love to camp, travel, take road trips, kayak, ride their horses and spend time with friends, their children and grandchildren.

What matters most to you in your business?

We want to make sure that every single person who steps through our door, or on our property, feels welcomed, important, and as if they are the only customer we have! Plus, we want them to share their experience with others.

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This article originally appeared in the Spring 2018 print issue of Sass Magazine.

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