Ashton Gardens Celebrates 10 Years and 1 Million Guests
A lot can happen in 10 years. For a startup company, the learning curve associated with a new venture can be a gamble. But every once in a while, you are gifted with corporate longevity and an opportunity to reflect on your accomplishments. You receive the rare chance to reminiscence about everything from the employees that have become family to the moments that helped cultivate and define years of hard work. In terms of business, you have the ability to quantify your successes and join a minority of companies that have survived the trials and tribulations of a new enterprise. In this case, Ashton Gardens wasn’t a story of luck, but a story of calculated moves and strategic decision making. With all these efforts combined, this unique and delightful Houston establishment will celebrate 10 years in business this month.
In 2003, entrepreneur and businessman Rex Grey, was approached with an idea that would later revolutionize the wedding industry. With a quick a trip to Oklahoma, he observed an operational wedding venue that was in need of a few adjustments. Although Grey thought the initial concept was functional, he immediately saw room for improvement. The more he contemplated the notion, the more he recognized the demand for a wedding location that offered specialized customer service and a ceremony and reception site all in a single setting. He also knew the perfect place to build it; Houston, TX.
Once the decision was made, Grey went to work on researching everything he could about the wedding and event industry. From conversations with vendors to hiring the most qualified personnel, Rex knew the type of people he needed to lay the foundation for his initiative to grow into fruition.
“We knew we had to hire the best people for this idea to really work,” said Grey. “We knew we had to do things differently than other venues to be successful.”
With that in mind, Grey enlisted the help of wife Maria to capture the classic look and feel of Ashton Gardens and the multiple properties to come. From fine, interior furnishings to elaborate landscaping, Maria brought a sense of timeless beauty to the property’s appearance and collaborated with Grey to establish an industry icon.
After over a year and a half of planning, brainstorming and building, Ashton Gardens opened its first location in February 2005 with 80 events on the books and roughly 20 employees.
“I remember being there for the first event and running around with a hammer making sure everything was set,” remembers Grey. “We were ready but not without the help of every single person.”
Following years of successful events and multiple industry accolades, the pursuit for venue number two was on the horizon. While Ashton Gardens Houston was practical and efficient, Grey knew that with the expansion, there would be a need for considerable development. With a larger building concept in mind, Grey enlisted the help of Brad Schreiber, a hospitality industry expert to lead the company through the necessary adjustments it required to flourish.
With the team complete, Ashton Gardens continued to move forward with their expansion proceeding over the next 10 years. Locations later opened in DFW in July of 2010 and Atlanta in March of 2012. While both of these buildings were on a grander scale than the Houston property, they still maintained the brands signature floor to ceiling windows, timber wood beams and stunning chandeliers.
Today, Ashton Gardens is located in Houston, Dallas and Atlanta and employees over 167 industry veterans. Their impeccable business model has allowed for additional expansion with their newest locations scheduled to open in Katy, TX this summer and another scheduled for next year in Marietta, Atlanta. To top everything off, Ashton Gardens will serve its millionth guest this year. Although this milestone is incredibly impressive, this is just the beginning for a company that started with a limited number of employees and a convenient concept for brides looking for their dream wedding destination.