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A very popular niche for concierge services is entertainment and hospitality. Gary Stein, 38, founder of West Port, Connecticut, Your Personal Concierge, specializes in obtaining hot tickets to Broadway plays and reservations at popular New York City restaurants and hotels. "Our best clients are from out of town; they require concierge services far more than someone who lives in New York City," says Stein, who worked for the Shubert Theater for four years before opening his business in the late 1980s. "While a certain number of our clients are individuals who use us for their personal needs, a majority of the people we serve are business executives with busy schedules."

Stein says keeping up with New York City's thriving cultural life so he can make the appropriate recommendations to clients isn't as difficult as it sounds. "Once something becomes a hit, it's not much of a secret anymore," he says.

Many concierge businesses also offer event-planning services, which they market to corporate clients. The ongoing downsizing trend in large corporations seems to have much to do with the increasing popularity of this type of service, says Garrett Seaverns, 42, co-founder of Suburban Concierge in Essex, Massachusetts. "We noticed about four years ago when we were going into business that as companies were cutting their staffing levels back and making employees more productive, those employees had much less time to order flowers or make things happen for the holidays," he says.

Seaverns believes that reliability and dedication are important qualities in an event-planning team. "You have to be very attentive to details and know whom you can count on," says Seaverns, who runs the business with his wife, Lauren, 39, a former executive administration manager. "We use an extensive database of vendors who are really into good customer service. You've got to be able to deliver what you tell people you're going to, and you've got to care."

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This article was originally published in the August 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Now Serving....

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