GARDEN PLAZA Community for seniors entertains at all ages

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  • JUDD WILSON/NIBJ Capt. Jason Mealer of the Post Falls Police Department jokingly handcuffs Garden Plaza resident Dorothy Ertel for speeding at a Holidays and Heroes photo shoot July 20.

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    Courtesy photo Carla Radford and Joe Reis test their luck as Roland Rueber, owner of Aspen Meadows B & B, volunteers to run a game table on Casino Night at Garden Plaza.

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    Courtesy photo Garden Plaza activity director Wendy Lebsack passes out candy with residents to kids on the senior community’s annual Halloween Safe Place Trick or Treating event.

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    Courtesy photo April Howard is the fun-loving director of sales and marketing at Garden Plaza in Post Falls.

  • JUDD WILSON/NIBJ Capt. Jason Mealer of the Post Falls Police Department jokingly handcuffs Garden Plaza resident Dorothy Ertel for speeding at a Holidays and Heroes photo shoot July 20.

  • 1

    Courtesy photo Carla Radford and Joe Reis test their luck as Roland Rueber, owner of Aspen Meadows B & B, volunteers to run a game table on Casino Night at Garden Plaza.

  • 2

    Courtesy photo Garden Plaza activity director Wendy Lebsack passes out candy with residents to kids on the senior community’s annual Halloween Safe Place Trick or Treating event.

  • 3

    Courtesy photo April Howard is the fun-loving director of sales and marketing at Garden Plaza in Post Falls.

There’s a local establishment that offers entertaining events such as comedy nights, a Great Gatsby Dinner & Show, chocolate cook-offs, poker runs, black tie bingo, and fashion show tea parties.

It’s so popular, you just might want to live there.

April Howard, director of sales and marketing at Garden Plaza of Post Falls, explained that she wants locals of all ages to see Garden Plaza as a place to enjoy the whole year long.

“I am so proud of our building that I want everyone to come see it, sample it and fall in love with it,” she said.

During Howard’s three years here, Garden Plaza has become the home of the well-known North Idaho’s Got Talent contest, which is heading into its third year. The winner receives an all expenses paid trip to audition on the America’s Got Talent show. In addition, all ticket proceeds benefit the local veterans’ charity Newby-Ginnings, said Howard.

Interactive classes such as Zumba Gold, waltz, paint and wine, and smartphone classes have been popular among residents and have brought some new faces into the Garden Plaza’s doors, she said.

Timothy Gordon from Antique Roadshow stopped in to appraise items from Garden Plaza residents and locals. The event attracted hundreds of people and unveiled some exciting history, said Howard. One-day bazaars around Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and fall also bring in a lot of traffic and local businesses. For two summers, the community hosted a farmers’ market.

Garden Plaza started a Veterans Day breakfast two years ago, but Howard wanted to do more.

“I didn’t like that we only honored our local vets once a year,” she said.

In response, she instituted Hungry Heroes, which attracts more than 100 veterans on the first Tuesday of each month to partake in a free meal and warm hospitality.

Howard said she tries to cater each event to the interests of Garden Plaza residents and newcomers alike.

“It’s their home and no one is more worthy of a good time and a fun experience than our seniors,” she said. “They are what it’s all about. They are the reward of all the hard work that goes into events.”

The wide array of events at Garden Plaza has led some to wonder what the events have to do with a senior living community, said Howard.

“If the event is kid-focused like our Easter Egg Hunt and Halloween Trick or Treating, each kid comes with a parent who has a neighbor or a loved one who might not need to move in to our building today, but when the time comes, the idea is that they think of us first because of their happy experiences and memories they already have made here,” she said.

The events-based marketing strategy has worked, said Howard.

“People don’t necessarily come to one event and move in the next day. But the interest is peaked and they are more open to the idea since they have seen first hand that retirement living at Garden Plaza is not the institutional image that is commonly painted in our minds,” she said. “In fact, Garden Plaza gives our well-deserved elderly population the cruise-ship lifestyle and the chance to be pampered every day.”

The community, which opened in 2009 and has more than 300 residents, is in high demand and has a waiting list. However, those who deposit $1,000 and pick out their favorite floor plan earn a spot in Garden Plaza’s Gold Membership Program. Members can enjoy free dinner at Garden Plaza any night as they wait for their apartment to become available.

“The idea is that the Gold Member comes in frequently to keep their excitement alive, get to know the building, get to know other residents and enjoy some delicious meals,” said Howard.

She invited members of the public to tour the community, enjoy a complimentary dinner, and attend one of its unique events.

For more information, go to: gardenplazapostfalls.com or call 208-773-3701

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