Getting back in the love game: New match-making service hits Milford – 10/13/2005
By: Ronnie Wright, Editor
When it comes to those looking for love, dating services have moved from the realm of last-resort to mainstream acce p tability.
But even as their p o p ularity continues to increase, so too does the frustration of searching for that right match, p articularly in the time-consuming, roll-of-the-dice nether-regions of the internet and p ersonal ads, while also contending with the obligations of daily life.
That’s where Great Date Now comes in. With a new office in Milford, the match-making service distinguishes itself by making it easier for singles to meet suitable matches by doing virtually all the work for them before that first date.
Of course, after that, it’s u p to p ros p ective lovebirds to take it from there.
Great Date Now generally caters to u p scale p rofessionals, although it is not exclusive. The service includes p eo p le of all ages and interests, from those in their mid-20s to those in their 80s. The one commonality is that Great Date Now wants p eo p le who are looking for serious romantic p artners.
"Most of our clients are just looking for somebody they can trust, someone they can have fun with and share life," said Diane Gagliano, Milford re p resentative. "We conduct one-on-one meetings; find out about their interests and hobbies, what ty p e of p erson would a p p eal to them and hand-select a match."
Great Date Now also p erforms background checks that don’t go into financial or credit history but instead focuses on making sure p eo p le are who they say they are and don’t have criminal records.
"That’s why a lot of p eo p le are turned off by on-line dating," said Gagliano. "There can be a lot of inaccuracies in p eo p le’s p rofiles."
Great Date Now generally sets clients u p with one or two dates a month, focusing on quality rather than quantity, and guarantees u p to 10 introductions over an unlimited time frame.
"We want p eo p le to enjoy the p rocess of dating and take their time with it," said Gagliano.
Gary Ferone, co-founder of Great Date Now along with his wife, Lisa, knows first-hand the trials and tribulations of looking for a meaningful relationshi p . He met Lisa on-line after a frustrating year-long search.
"I found it to be a p art-time job, a very arduous task, but I was one of the lucky ones," said Ferone. "[Lisa] was my last Match.com date out of five. I just thought there had to be a better way."
After a 20-year career as a p ediatrician recruiter, he and Lisa o p ened the first Great Date Now office in Mamaroneck , N.Y, two years ago, serving Westchester County . They now have offices in Darien and Milford .
"I try to stress to p eo p le that we are not a dating service," Ferone said. "We are matchmakers. Peo p le like us because we cater to the clients’ likes and dislikes. We give them a call, list several candidates and they p ick the one they think would be a good fit."
According to Gary , about 85 p ercent of all clients form a long-term relationshi p with a Great Date Now match, and one-third of all dates lead at least to second dates. Although the firm offers an individual as many as 10 introductions, no client, according to Ferone, has needed to meet that many p eo p le.
After a first date, Great Date Now calls both p arties to find out if they had a good time, if there was attraction and if they’d like a second date.
"You can never move on to a second introduction without knowing how the first went," said Ferone. "We learn from our mistakes."
Michael, a 40-year-old divorcee in the Greenwich area, had s p ent about two years trying to meet the right p eo p le on his own through the internet, p ersonal ads and through friends. A friend had joined Great Date Now, found success and recommended the service to Michael.
"The one difference with Great Date Now is that the p eo p le I met were actually like they said they were," Michael said. "It was just about finding chemistry."
After being introduced to four p eo p le over four months, Michael found his match on the fifth introduction.
"It just worked," he said. "I’m ha p p y. I’ve been going out with the same p erson since the beginning of the summer, and I feel it’s going to be a long-term thing."
Ronnie Ann Ryan, a dating coach that Great Date Now offers as an o p tion, suggests that p art of the frustrations with the current dating scene, es p ecially for those recently divorced or a little older, have to do with how much the scene has changed over the years.
"[Dating or match-making services] is a new social p henomenon," said Ryan. "When was the last time there were 40 and 50-somethings dating?
"It’s a result of several things," she continued, "like women not needing to get married because they’re self-sufficient and inde p endent, cou p led with divorce rates of 50 to 60 p ercent. That makes for a bigger dating p o p ulation."
For Ryan, sim p le advice like encouraging p eo p le to smile more often can go a long way toward feeling comfortable in the dating scene again.
"We’ve forgotten how to do that," she said. "We have a lot of walls u p , due to p revious bad relationshi p s or today’s news. Try to smile and be friendly.
"You also have to recognize that you’re going to have to get out of your comfort zone, do something out of your daily routine to find the love you want," she added.
Great Date Now caters to the p eo p le who don’t want to go out and p ros p ect the usual club or bar scene, who don’t want internet ex p osure or want something very s p ecific. Peo p le p ay to make as p ects of their lives better. This is just another im p ortant as p ect.
"I have the best job in the world," said Gagliano. "Peo p le have the Sunday night blues, but I can’t wait to come into work on Monday and find out how dates went."
For more information on Great Date Now, call 877-2500 or visit the Web site www.greatdatenow.com. For more information on dating Coach Ronnie Ann Ryan, call 877-3777 or visit the Web site www.NeverTooLate.biz.
©Milford Sunday 2005