Service with a Smile The Residential Concierge

At one point or another, we’ve all felt like this:

I gotta go to the dry cleaners, get the computer fixed, pick up groceries after the ballet recital, wait, a client meeting just popped up, oh, and I have to make reservations for mom’s birthday dinner, still need to get the carpet cleaned. The sink’s broken now? Where did I put my keys?

Sometimes there just isn’t enough of you to go around, and it can be overwhelming. So, where do you turn when you need a few extra pairs of hands? Some condo and co-op residents turn to concierges. There are several different types of concierges, but we’ll focus on independent and residential ones. Before we get deeper into the two, what they do, and how they do it, let’s take a quick look at the history of the profession.

Keeper of the Keys

The word ‘concierge’ is French. It means “keeper of the keys.” In the Middle Ages, a castle’s concierge took care of visiting nobility. He kept the keys to visitors’ rooms and ensured that guests had everything they needed during their visit. People liked the concept, and the trend eventually spread from the castle to all kinds of buildings. Today, the concierges we see most often are ensconced behind desks in the lobbies of high-end hotels—but they’re becoming more commonplace in high-end residential buildings as well.

Independent concierges primarily work as independent contractors. They can help you manage errands from picking up the laundry or groceries, to tracking down the purple python you need to match the décor for your upcoming party—like Nakia Brown, CEO of Manhattan-based Yes, Your Highness! concierge service was once asked to do.


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  • There are also one more set of concierge businesses. They are popular here in Minnesota. They are called cabin concierge companies. They cater to the people who own second (or third, or fourth...) homes on the lakes. They care for the customers' lake homes and cabins, which are usually elaborate log luxury homes, while the property owner is away. There are little one-person operations, and also larger companies, like Home Halo that are taking over the state with multiple locations. There are a lot of companies like that in Florida too, caring for beach houses.
  • I've used Gotham Concierge before and thought Alison and her team did an amazing job digging me out after a move -- getting me organized, situated in NYC, getting me set up with a local cleaner, getting me info on excellent take-out, and getting me tickets to a long list of shows I wanted to catch. I've thanked her before and I'll thank her again!