Picture a classic picnic.
You might think of a red checked blanket, a basket, and perhaps a line of clever ants making off with crumbs of what you’ve brought. But when Brian and Jodie Meurer think of a picnic, they think of an experience — comfortable seating, a curated decor theme, charcuterie and desserts.
Two months ago, the Meurers started picnicMOJO, a luxury pop-up picnic service. Since, they’ve hosted several two- to four-person events, and they’re already thinking about future plans.
Pop-up picnic services do all the work of furnishing and catering a picnic, including seating, tables, food, and often activities like lawn games. All customers need to bring is themselves, Jodie Meurer said.
“It's a chance to sit outside and have a dining experience, without any of the work,” she said. “We provide the food, we provide the setup, all you have to do is come, eat, and enjoy yourself.”
The initial spark for picnicMOJO was the Meurers' own interest in having a pop-up picnic. Businesses like picnicMOJO have been popular on the West Coast, but it has taken time for them to move inland, they said. The Meurers found that no one in Rochester offered picnics, so they decided to be the ones to provide them. PicnicMOJO was born.
The decor for a picnicMOJO picnic varies with the theme. Currently, picnicMOJO offers two themes: “Pretty Little Picnic,” a romantic theme with pink and fluffy pillows and blankets, and “Alpaca Picnic,” featuring fresh colors, with more yellows and greens. A third theme, tentatively named “Boho Chic,” is also in the works.
Rochester picnickers can choose from a variety of public park locations, or their own backyard. Each picnic includes a charcuterie box and dessert box, often featuring cupcakes or other pastries from Rochester Farmers Market vendors. The Meurers also include honey from their own beehives.
So far, picnicMOJO has hosted almost 10 picnics, mainly for couples.
“I really thought this year we'd have a couple families and just do something nice for people that want it, just give them another option,” Brian Meurer said. “But we're getting more response than I thought.”
Along with the new theme, the Meurers are also working on a way to continue their picnics into the winter, offering picnics for larger groups, and a kids' theme. PicnicMOJO currently does not allow young children or pets at picnics.
“We’re hopeful that it gets busy enough that we can have other people setting up picnics, so we can have multiple picnics going at the same time,” Jodie Meurer said.
If that happens, the Meurers may get the chance to do what inspired them to create their business in the first place.
“We’ve still not done a luxury picnic yet, because now we're doing them for other people,” Jodie Meurer said.