Jessica Koc met her husband online, but she knows that meeting people in person is an entirely different experience.
That’s why she’s bringing speed dating to Tucson with her new downtown business Rendezvous.
“With online dating, you have this time frame to curate it to whatever you think that other person might like, so it’s not really — I feel — too genuine,” Koc says. “And then after the pandemic, when we’re all cooped up, I wanted to go back to a natural setup. It’s either you like this person or you don’t.”
Here’s how it works:
Interested singles can fill out a number of questions on the Rendezvous website — things like age (you must be over 21), sexual preference and interests such as traveling, hiking, yoga or whatever else you’re into.
From there, Koc narrows the applicants down to 20 singles who share similar interests. They then meet at Rendezvous, pick up a drink at the nearby The Owls Club, do a session of five 10-minute dates, followed by a break and then another five 10-minute dates.
The sessions cost $30 per person and include a beverage from The Owls Club. The first speeding dating session at Rendezvous is set for Oct. 1. As more applicants flow in, Koc hopes to host speed dating sessions every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
“We did our research,” Koc says. “An average date costs 100 bucks and that’s one date that might or might not work. But here, you get to meet 10 people.”
Eventually, Koc also wants to implement the ability for attendees to send gifts to one another after their dates. She’ll be the middle woman so no one has to share private information with each other.
“I’m originally from LA and I would’ve loved (Rendezvous),” says Koc, who has lived in Tucson for 12 years. “When I first moved, I would’ve loved meeting new people.”
“When you meet people, you want to make sure they’re interested in the same thing,” she says. “That’s another reason for this. When you go to a bar and you meet someone, (it could be someone) who is just looking for a good time or not looking for anything serious.”
To spice things up even more, Koc eventually wants to host “improv dating,” where singles attend and audience members play matchmaker.
“The audience will get to decide, ‘Oh, those two will be a good match,’” Koc explains. “They will come up and the host will ask them questions and it’ll be interactive.”
Beyond the possible love connections that could brew at Rendezvous, the space will also be home to trivia nights, in addition to workshops and classes from crafting to party planning to how to make the perfect charcuterie board.
Koc won’t be the host of those events, but is instead inviting other local businesses and makers into Rendezvous to share their talents.
“I just feel like a lot of times, especially startups, have a harder time getting a space to show what they do,” Koc says.
The goal for those events is to connect the community, Koc says, not necessarily to spark romantic relationships.
“The speed dating is going to be my bread and butter but I really do want it to be very community driven,” Koc says, adding that her hope is that Rendezvous will become a place where people can get to know each other.
At the moment, Koc is looking into keeping Rendezvous a 21+ venue, though she may incorporate kid-friendly events in the future, especially because of the space’s close proximity to the Children’s Museum Tucson.