FLINT, Michigan -- Like any siblings, Flint natives Aaron and Adriane Jackson don’t hold back when expressing their opinions to each other. But they also have a high level of trust and ability to find common ground -- vital skills since they are running a business together.
Aaron Christopher Events (ACE) is a party and event-planning business that Aaron Jackson, 31, launched in February of 2020. He and his wife Gislaine Jackson run it, and he also quickly turned to his sister to join the business so that they could combine their expertise.
“We both kind of come from, I guess you could say, a party background,” said Adriane Jackson, 36, describing herself as ‘the life of the party.’ “We wanted to bring our experiences that we’ve had around the world, around the country, and bring it here to Flint. So we give you that grace, that style, and we try to elevate our parties by making sure that we’re actually speaking to individuals. We try and make sure we’re bringing just a different vibe to Flint with our parties.”
Starting a business focused on events and gathering right in the early phases of the pandemic has certainly posed challenges, and their first event tested their newfound business relationship -- “I definitely fired her,” Aaron joked, while Adriane insisted that she quit. But since then, ACE has come up with creative ways to safely do events and partner with different businesses and organizations, including Market Tap, Comma Bookstore and Social Hub, The Eberson, Blackstone’s Smokehouse, and more, over the past year. The foundation of that willingness to take risks is simply trust.
“At the end of the day, I support her 110 percent,” Aaron Jackson said.
The down time while businesses were shut down and gathering limits were in place also gave the team time to brainstorm and come up with new ideas.
“Starting a business is hard enough, and to go through what we just went through, it was definitely one of those things where you swallow your pride,” Adriane Jackson said. “But one thing I can say about me and my brother, we never stopped thinking of ideas.”
Last winter, they did events that included music, DJs, special food and drink menus, a bourbon tasting, and more. Recently, ACE hosted a DJ Versus Battle at Blackstones Smokehouse and on June 13, they’re returning to Blackstones for an event called, ‘Leisure: A Toast to Freedom’
from 5-9 p.m.
“Her and I and my wife, we are always brainstorming and coming up with ideas, we talk about what is missing (in Flint) and how do we fill those gaps,” Aaron Jackson said.
Another element that is important to all of the Jacksons is doing something positive for Flint. Their family is from the southside, and supporting the community was instilled in them at a young age. Their dad was a longtime mentor and presence in the youth sports community. Their mom also introduced them to high-level events when they were growing up that exposed them to music and culture.
“Our mother threw black-tie jazz affairs from when we were babies,” Aaron Jackson said.
“Our dad was a huge, huge, huge community man,” Adriane Jackson said.
As kids, Adriane and Aaron and their siblings volunteered for a range of Flint events, including the Crim Festival of Races. Adriane, who also works in the medical industry and is also launching her own luxury picnic business, has volunteered for the police department at various community events. Aaron Jackson is currently a Flint fireman.
Along with continuing to partner with organizations for creative events -- there are plans in the works for a tequila tasting and the grand finale of the DJ Versus competition coming up -- ACE also works with private individuals interested in planning parties or events. For information, they can be contacted through Facebook
. Tickets for Leisure are available online
. In the meantime, they hope to just continue growing and adding to Flint’s blossoming creative scene.
“I think when you speak of art, just all the murals and music (in Flint), it's beautiful just to see someplace that people consider so hard and you see this art that shows you that under the roughness, you can still have something beautiful,” Aaron Jackson said. “It really is an inspiration. I remember growing up, I thought Flint was just the coolest place ever to be from in the world. And I still think it is, I don't care where I go, if I'm headed down 75, I know that I'm going home.”