Tucked into the back of a Williamsville staffing agency is a cozy bar, flanked by a mantle with an LED fireplace.
It doesn’t look like a location for a financial education class- but The Establishment is not a typical program.
“We didn’t want this to be a stuffy, walk in and sit at a desk thing,” financial advisor Derek Szczupakowski said. “We wanted it to be a very relaxed, casual atmosphere where people can have a drink beforehand or during, and enjoy some apps and learn about finance.”
Szczupakowski is also an instructor at The Establishment.
The Establishment was launched in 2015 by MassMutual in New York State to target a younger demographic and educate them on important financial topics, Marissa Dinello, director of marketing for MassMutual, said.
“They felt it was an underserved population, and wanted to come up with a new way that was much different than what traditional financial planning looks like,” Dinello said.
Classes at The Establishment start with a pre-class happy hour, where guests are invited to grab a drink or enjoy some appetizers. When it’s time to start, the bookcase slides aside, revealing a hidden classroom.
“It’s always interesting to see somebody new walk into our space and to see the look on their face once they see we have a moving bookcase that reveals our classroom,” Dinello said.
The average age of a class participant at the Establishment is 32 years old- a little older than the target demographic was when the program started.
“Originally, it was people out of college,” Dinello said. ‘We’re seeing that evolve quite a bit.”
The class offerings have evolved as well- from three topics to 14.
Class topics include “Wine and Investing 101”, “Buying Your First Home” and “Making Sense of Student Loans”.
All of the classes are free.
The Establishment is located inside of AP Professionals, 5110 Main St. in Williamsville.