Event plan­ner hopes biz becomes APEX of event spaces

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Ruby Mercer (center), along with family and friends, cuts the ribbon to celebrate the grand opening of her new business, the Apex Event Center, at the Shoppes of Renaissance Square on South McMorrine Street, Elizabeth City. Mercer opened the event planning business in November.


By William F. West
Staff Writer

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Ruby Mercer has always thought of herself as decorator, designer and planner.

Even as a girl growing up in Barco, she recalls always being interested in getting things into place that were out of place.

"I would rearrange a room or change the pictures," Mercer, now 64, recalls.

It’s why she’s pursuing a new venture as owner of the APEX Event Center, a business specializing in wedding and event planning in Elizabeth City.

Located at the Shoppes at Renaissance Square on South McMorrine Street, APEX has been open since November but held its official grand opening Thursday evening. 

According to Mercer, the name APEX is both an acronym for “A Perfect Event Experience” and an allusion to Apex, the North Carolina city where Mercer once lived and operated a day-care center for 20 years before returning to Elizabeth City.   

Besides helping brides and grooms plan their weddings and groups plan large events, Mercer would like to use space outside the Shoppes at Renaissance Square, when it warms up, to hold both outdoor weddings and cookouts. She also plans to plant a flower garden, she said. 

Mercer said she has six to seven family members helping her at APEX. Initially she hopes to use the social networks at Elizabeth City State University to draw customers to her business, but her long-range goal is to help plan weddings and events for people from all walks of life, she said. 

"It's just in my heart," she says of her love of event planning and decorating.

It wasn’t her first choice of a career, however.

Growing up in a small community in Currituck County, Mercer said she initially wanted a different kind of life. So she moved to California where she had family members and friends. 

“I have always been adventurous," she noted.

She ended up working about a decade as an administrative assistant at Stanford University, which is not far from San Francisco. While there, she began doing some event planning on the side.

Asked to recall her time living near the “City by the Bay,” Mercer said with a smile, "Well, their seafood was almost as good as ours."

She said she also worked for a time at Drew Medical Center before returning to Elizabeth City. She then moved away again to Apex, where she owned and operated her own day-care facility.

At the Shoppes at Renaissance Square, APEX occupies the space that was formerly the home of JoVan Fashions, which has moved to West Ehringhaus Street. River City Community Development Corp. opened the Shoppes at Renaissance Square in 2015 as a business incubator. It’s designed to provide small, just-starting-out businesses help and low overhead while they find a permanent home.

For more information about APEX, call Mercer at 339-4258 or visit online at http://www.apexeventcenter.com/