As an entrepreneur, mother, mentor and confidant, Simone Gadson continuously advises people to follow and live their dreams. Pursue your ideas, move forward and persevere, is her philosophy. For the past two years she has been following her own advice. “Entertaining, organizing events and meeting and greeting people,” is my passion,” said Gadson. “When I fell into this building, it only seemed natural to establish some sort of entertainment facility.”
Taking guidance from Ward Chairman Charles Frazier to open a banquet facility to fill a void within the community, in December of 2009 her longtime dream became a reality–Cabaret opened its doors at 7928 Frankstown Avenue. “A place where everyday’s a cabaret.”
|JAZZ ANYONE—Painted by artist George Gist, Cabaret will feature jazz concerts featuring music by musicians in the wall mural.
Gadson’s dream consists of a two-story family entertainment rental and banquet facility. The upstairs, which she considers the Main Stage for the first 15 months, has hosted concerts, receptions, parties and family oriented activities. “I believe I hit the mark with this building,” she said explaining that the business is evolving just as she envisioned. “I wanted an intimate, warm, cozy space where jazz and musical shows can be held as well as an area where receptions and formal types of events can take place.”
The lower level houses a jazz room featuring a full length wall mural highlighting past jazz musicians, comfortable lounge chairs and bar area. The ballroom designed for elegant affairs like most classy hotel ballrooms is designed with a charming decor, glass chandelier, and dance floor and side kitchen. Food is provided by an in-house full service catering company, Patrix operated by Patrick Polk.
Equipped for meetings and afternoon events, Cabaret will soon be Wi-Fi, which Gadson says will enhance its conference and seminar capabilities. Scheduled events include, April 30 and every fourth Saturday following Comedy Night, Artistree in May, June 5 and the first Sunday of consecutive months will feature “Gospel, Jam, Jazzy Sessions” hosted by Tori Walker from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Dinner will also be available. Gadson said Spoken Word events and more Gospel Rejoice Concerts are also being planned.
With the goal for her multi-purpose facility to offer something unique and positive in Homewood, Gadson maintains an optimistic attitude about what Cabaret can add to the neighborhood. “People are surprised when they come here and the response from patrons and the community has been great.” Contradicting what some people think of her location, she said the area is what it is. “I realize what Homewood is about, but I know what it can become.” Gadson points out that there are a lot of great businesses in Homewood. “They have weathered the storm. We have to work together and support one and other.” Her view is that it will take time and faith.
Well aware that it will take more than the community of Homewood to change things and to sustain her business, she said she is striving to bring people from the outside to experience what she offers at Cabaret. “I’m looking to bring other cultures and people from all around the region. Seeds are being planted here and I am going to keep nurturing them.”
A Westinghouse graduate, Gadson considers herself a homegrown talent. A Lincoln-Larimer resident, entrepreneur tendencies have been in her blood for years. She was a hairdresser for 24 years often running a shop from her home. Enjoying the art of working with her hands and being creative she also considers listening as one of her skills. A City of Pittsburgh Police Officer for 23 years, Gadson says her career choices have afforded her the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. “How you treat people is most important, no matter what profession you are in,” she indicated.
After operating on one floor for more than a year, March 12 marked a new beginning for Cabaret. Presenting a red carpet grand reopening event, Gadson says she looks forward to an exciting future. “Everything here is my vision and investment. My blood, sweat and tears cannot be replaced. It has been a journey, and I don’t regret any of it.”