Founded by former Georgetown undergraduate classmates Ryan Wilson and TK Petersen, the “think tank and a country club, minus the elitism” joins the first two locations—Atlanta and Washington, D.C. “We’ve been very specific from the beginning: This is about Black folks, and engaging our culture directly,” says Wilson. “Everybody is welcome. But everything that we build has a very specific point of view that we’re not trying to shy away from.”
The Gathering Spot, dreamt up and co-founded by former Georgetown undergraduate classmates Ryan Wilson and TK Petersen, has opened a location in Los Angeles, Calif., The Hollywood Reporter (THR) reported. It joins the first location, which opened in Atlanta in 2016, and Washington, D.C., opened in 2020.
C+RB first reported on The Gathering Spot in April 2021.
The Gathering Spot, a private membership network designed as a place for connectivity and community building, counts roughly 12,000 members nationwide, THR reported.
“It’s like a think tank and a country club, minus the elitism,” Wilson, CEO of the company, told THR.
“We’re used to being tolerated in spaces and not celebrated within them. So what is it like to build an experience where we’re celebrated at every touch point?” Wilson said of the motivation behind The Gathering Spot, which opened earlier this year in L.A.’s historically Black West Adams neighborhood. “We’ve been very specific from the beginning: This is about Black folks, and engaging our culture directly. Everybody is welcome. But everything that we build has a very specific point of view that we’re not trying to shy away from.”
Loosely modeled after D.C. “talking clubs,” the network’s roots lie in searching for a space where a range of creatives, professionals and entrepreneurs could get together to discuss ideas around business and activism, and also participate in programming and curated experiences, THR reported.
The L.A. location offers a 24-hour workspace, which includes meeting rooms and private offices. It also hosts approximately 20 events per month (open to members, who pay $200 per month, and their guests), THR reported. Most recently, Ciara celebrated Ten to One Rum, a spirit company she co-owns, and Daniel Kaluuya hosted a party in honor of Nope ahead of its opening weekend in July. There’s also a members-only bar and restaurant.
Wilson told THR that Los Angeles, where he was born, was an obvious fit for the company’s newest location.
“It’s a natural extension for the business to try to join a community where things being produced here influence what folks see all across the world,” he said. Selecting historic West Adams more specifically was equally intentional. “Simply put, we’re not in Beverly Hills or West Hollywood on purpose. This needs to be where it is. We’ve got to make sure that the communities that have been here for a while can benefit from whatever this new stuff is.”
All Gathering Spot members can opt into health care benefits offered by the company (plans start at $50), and there are member benefits at nearby businesses (including Highly Likely cafe and Black woman-owned café Sip and Sonder in Inglewood), as well as a merch collaboration with Black Hollywood power-dining spot Alta Adams, THR reported. The Gathering Spot’s most notable collaboration yet, however, is its merger with Fintech Greenwood, a digital banking platform for Black and Latino individuals and business owners, in May.
Across all three locations, Wilson said, The Gathering Spot prioritizes workshops for wealth building, finance and business development, THR reported.
Though The Gathering Spot’s network has manifested physically in three cities, the community extends beyond that; remotely, over the course of the pandemic, local partners in Chicago, New York, Detroit, Houston, and Charlotte help curate events for TGS “members” who engage and build relationships with other members online and in person, even without a brick-and-mortar community space, THR reported. When asked who fits the description of a TGS member in any of the connected cities, Wilson said, ultimately, “people [who are] committed to the culture.”
But beyond that, a range of industries, ages, and interests are represented in the membership community, THR reported.
“We actually want a creative to be sitting next to their potential lawyer or a banker,” Wilson said. “Where the club becomes super powerful is when you are able to walk into rooms and say, ‘Wow, I would have never met the people that are here, but for this.’”