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New business aims to connect people
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Manteca natives Jennifer Hart and Amy Acaya have launched The Social Muse an event organizing and planning company aimed at connecting like-minded people through a series of fun activities. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL/The Bulletin

Jennifer Hart and Amy Acaya want to connect with you.
Through a new company that the two Manteca natives formed – The Social Muse – the pair are setting out with hopes of turning their marketing backgrounds and gregarious personalities into something that people of all different backgrounds will be able to enjoy.
And it’s all in the name of connection.
New to town and looking for a fun social outing with people like you? They’ve got you covered.
Work too much to play the dating game but still want to experience the joys of love? They’ve got you covered on that to.
In an idea that was born out of necessity – Hart recently returned to Manteca in the middle of an around-the-world trip because her pet became ill – but she’s hoping that along with Acaya they’ll be able to reach specific target markets and help bring a sense of community back to a world that is becoming increasingly disconnected.
“I came back home early and let’s just say that it’s not the Manteca that I remember when I left,” Hart said. “I want to bring some of those connections back and let people get to know one another.
“When I was traveling I would tell people that I’m from a small town in the middle of nowhere, but it’s one of the most connected places you’ll ever find and I want it to be that way again.”
The first formal event being held by The Social Muse, a women’s only wine-tasting trip on Sunday, July 30, will aim to bring women together so that they can enjoy some of Lodi’s most beautiful scenery with other like-minded individuals who appreciate wine and good company.
And it’s just the tip of the iceberg for ideas that the pair have to bridge the gap back to interpersonal connectedness.
With a marketing and business background, Acaya – who formed and operates Manteca’s Victorious Elite Allstars competition cheerleading team and school – said that the list of things she wishes to accomplish start at small community events and extend all the way up to organizing travel groups who are looking to feed their inner nomad.
And no connection effort would be complete without matchmaking.
“We think of ourselves as fun, positive people and we want to connect and network with other fun, positive people to build a community of sorts,” Acaya said. “We wanted to do something different, and starting with event planning and seeing where it goes seemed like the right start.”
For those who are unattached, the company has its first official “speed dating” event already booked for August 16 at Cabana Del Sol in Manteca, and are currently looking for people between the ages of 26 and 39 who are interested in participating to sign up. The ages, Hart said, aren’t hard and fast rules per se – a couple of years on either side won’t disqualify somebody – but rather an attempt at uniting people within the same age bracket in order to establish what she hopes will become a regular event.
In a digital age when cell phones serve as the portal to connectivity in almost all things, including dating for young people, The Social Muse is hoping to put people face-to-face the old-fashioned way to see if the connectivity that’s hard to gauge through a phone or computer screen is real, but in a controlled environment.
“There’s such a stigma involved with speed dating, but this is a chance to do something different and meet a lot of different people that you may connect with,” Hart said. “And it might not be romantically either – you might meet somebody that you click with and all of a sudden you have a new friend.
“It’s about connecting with people, and I hope that we’re able to do that and offer people something that they’re looking for but don’t necessarily know how to find it.”
Tickets for The Weekend Wine Down, which will include transportation to and from three wineries in the Lodi area – Jessie’s Grove, LangeTwins and Peirano Estates –  are now available for $55 and will be going up to $60, but all purchased of more than one ticket will make them $50. The chartered trip will leave the Save Mart parking lot in Lathrop at 10 a.m. on Sunday, July 30 and return around 6 p.m. Tastings at each of the wineries is included, and the event is only open to women.
For more information about The Social Muse, visit their page on Facebook, email or call 209.441.6873 (MUSE).

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.