The New Hampshire native had just returned from his father’s funeral to Minneapolis, Minn., where he’d been living for 13 years. Davis had siblings, friends and steady work in Minneapolis. But he longed for less, um, relentless frigidity.
“After 13 winters, I just said to myself, ‘I’m getting outta here,’” Davis says. “I just wanted to change my life. I was 45 and I figured, ‘you better do it while you still had the gumption to do it.’”
Fast forward seven years and Davis is helming his burgeoning event lighting firm – appropriately named Marin Event Lighting.
Davis has long-established ties to the event and hospitality world in Marin from his time running Piazza D’Angelo’s catering division, and since launching his business a year ago, he’s made steady gains in the event and wedding landscape. As evidenced in the photos above, Davis has produced lighting for events at the Outdoor Art Club and for the closing night party of the 40th Mill Valley Film Festival in 2017. He’s also done events at the Ralston White Retreat, Slide Ranch and the Seminary in Strawberry.
“It’s been a complete learning curve for me, but I’d been doing lights for friend’s parties and those sorts of things, and apparently there was a need for it – it’s gone really well, almost right of the gate,” he says.
Davis says he’s filled a niche for events that are “not looking for a huge production but more setting a nice environment, everything from backyard parties to weddings. I really enjoy meeting with couples for weddings and helping them achieve their vision.”
Davis has a wide range of lighting devices on hand, as well as complementary items like patio heaters, propane fire pits, patio furniture and table top decor like votive candles “that help create a complete event environment,” Davis says.
Davis credits Meals of Marin founder Carola Detrick, who he met while catering in Napa soon after his Bay Area arrival, for helping him find Mill Valley. “She told me to check it out, and otherwise I never would would gotten off the highway,” says Davis, who drove into town, stopped at Peet’s Coffee downtown and soon after placed an ad looking for a house rental on Craigslist. He’s lived in Blithedale Canyon for the past six years.
Shortly after he foud Mill Valley, Davis walked into PIazza D’Angelo and asked co-owner Domenico Petrone for a job. “He put me in front of (then-manager) Natale Cardamone and he gave me a job as a waiter. I wasn’t very good at it, but they very kindly let me work in catering, which was a better fit.”
One year on from launching Marin Event Lighting, with an ever-growing roster of scheduled events and relationships with venues, Davis says he’s grateful for his time in his adopted hometown.
“I had no idea that I would end up in a place like Mill Valley,” Davis says. “I am unbelievably fortunate to be here and doing what I’m doing.”