How often do you feel like technology has replaced face to face interaction? People rarely chat about what is going on in their lives anymore, the new “norm” is to text, share, tweet and connect virtually. It’s very rare that we actually mail anything anymore. It’s convenient and cheap (if not free) to utilize e-mail, online bill pay, and social media. We feel as if we are connected to the people in our lives, but the truth is that most of us only know what is going on in their lives because of their status updates. Seriously, thank goodness for the birthday reminders on all of our social media sites!

When we do get together with friends, discussions often lean toward how busy we are and how much we rely on technology to contact others and organize our days. It’s not uncommon to see people in restaurants focused on their phones and tablets and ignoring the people around them. There are even diagnoses being given caused by too much exposure to electronics.

Great Gatherings Front Exterior of buildingHowever, there are many who are clinging to or trying to get back to the personal connections. Common solutions to the overuse of technology include; setting aside electronics during a meal or the first person to submit has to pay, scheduling activities in places devoid of technology to get back to nature, or even just getting out of the house to enjoy a leisurely walk around your favorite store.

One unique retailer truly embodies this spirit of personal connection. Centered in the Washington, D.C. area, Great Gatherings offers indoor and outdoor entertainment furniture to encourage consumers to spend time together. If you’ve never heard of them, make sure you’re sitting down. Think of Pottery Barn for men…but the manliest version…with a full beard and a smattering of tattoos. It’s basically a shopping mall that your husband will be begging you to go to.

Patio Furniture available at Great Gatherings

Full of high quality entertainment pieces like home bars, pool tables, fooseball, air hockey, and darts. Even the outdoor furniture, like fire pits and patio sets, have a masculine feel. Their selection of home décor can help polish off your rec room. We love that they offer games too. With over 3,000 square feet of table top products, they are redefining home entertainment. Check out this version of TableTopics – Not Your Mom’s Dinner Party (pictured) that would be perfect addition to a BBQ with friends. There are also Family and Couples versions that encourage laughter and awesome conversation.

Not only did Great Gatherings score the 2014 Retailer of the Year Award, but they also just opened their 3rdshowroom last month in Fairfax, VA. Even the shopping center they’re located in lends itself to great entertainment.

The Mosaic District, a community-oriented shopping center with 500,000 sq ft of retail space (, offers a park which hosts movies, yoga, and a farmers market. We spoke to Joe Pucci, founder and CEO of Great Gatherings, earlier this week. The new showroom has been open less than a month but it sounds like business is good. “Mosaic opened its doors to the public on May 14th and business has exceeded our expectations, which during today’s challenging retail environment is a very pleasant surprise. Our “secret” to success, as always, is great vendor partners and even better retail sales partners. Our sales consultants love what they do and care about their customers, it creates a very good opportunity to succeed.” Other showroom locations include Gainesville, VA and Annapolis, MD.

Pool Table available at Great GatheringsWe also love the rustic look of their American Heritage Quest Pool Table (pictured). The top also converts to table tennis – bonus! Not only a great addition to your home, but a bonding piece for coworkers and clients alike! Give a new meaning to hanging out by the pool this summer and spend some quality time with family, friends, and business associates!

If you had a game room in your home or office, what would be the first thing you’d purchase?

What are your thoughts on personal connections? Please let us know in the comment section below!