MARYSVILLE – When the city bought the Opera House in 2016, it was called a “hidden jewel” and the city’s “best-kept secret.”
“It’s not the best-kept secret anymore,” city parks director Jim Ballew told the City Council Monday night.
City staff shared that the number of rentals has gone up from 34 to 36, city events from 50 to 58 and performances from 36 to 58.
When sponsors, classes, concessions and ticket sales are added in, the gross revenue went from $26,000 the first year to $44,350 the second to $77,834 this last year.
Staffer Lauren Woodmanese said there have already been 129 events this year. She said the public is giving the facility “phenomenal” feedback, with 4- and 5-star reviews.
“People are coming to us wanting to be part of what we’re doing,” she said of sponsors.
Ballew said sponsorships are helping keep ticket prices down, so instead of costing $25 a person, $10 can be charged.
He also said the city has developed some great partnerships with local service clubs that provide things like beer and wine.
“We don’t get a piece of that,” but it adds value to the event, he said.
Councilman Stephen Muller asked how much more could the city handle at the facility?
Ballew said they are still learning how to “flip” the facility from one type of event to another, but that he thinks they could possibly do 25 percent more.
“We’re not turning anyone away,” he said.
He also said they are still working on pricing. He said it’s “alarming” how much some others are charging for events this summer. “We’ll see how they do,” he said, adding the city doesn’t want to price themselves out of any business.
As the statistics show, the Opera House is doing well. Staffer Tara Mizell said people are booking the facility two years down the line.
Ballew said their business model is to cover their debt, and, “We’re beyond that.”
He added that, “It’s a feather in our cap” that they could say “we don’t need you” to an act because they wanted $8,000 for a 45-minute show.