Securing the future of the Duncan Showroom is back on the front burner.
The downtown club, a popular venue for both big international names and aspiring local bands, has moved about a bit before finding its current home.
Longevity John Falkner has set up a Gofundme page at https://www.gofundme.com/keeping-the-duncan-showroom-alive to help buy the Station Street building where his club has been located in recent years. Now, because the building has been sold, it’s time to act.
“We’ve known for a year that the building was up for sale,” said Falkner, describing the situation around his renting the structure.
“It was taken off the active market; we felt a little bit of relief, and then, bang! it’s sold. But, someone told me years ago to make sure I got a first offer of refusal so I had that written into my lease that I had the first right of refusal. We have till March 16 to come up with the money and match their offer of $485,000 plus GST. Now that seems like a lot and, at times, I think it is, but it’s not a lot of money for what’s being bought: the building and everything else.”
It’s located right on the main street, a fixture in downtown Duncan for many decades.
“We can nurture it along for at least another 20-30 years as is,” Falkner said. “We’ve upgraded it. When we came in, with the occupancy that we planned, I had to put in a support wall on the front of the building so it was seismically OK for us. There was $30,000 invested, just to open up. And that was our money, not the landlord’s.
“So, when we found that we had 60 days to raise the funds to buy, I immediately started up this Gofundme just to see what we could do with it. Someone has come along and said, if you can get $150,000 I can get you a mortgage. That makes life a little easier. So far, we have just under $2,200 but I’ve got a pledge for $2,500 and another matching one for $2,500 and possibly another one. They’re all sitting in the background, saying: once you start showing you need it, we’ll produce it. And the Gofundme program is now set up in such a way that if we don’t meet our mark, the monies can be refunded,” he said.
All of this doesn’t mean the Showroom is facing the end.
“And remember, this doesn’t mean that we have to be out March 16, it just means that new owners take over the building on March 16. I have a valid three-and-a-half year lease downstairs and a one-and-a-half year upstairs. I talked to the [prospective purchaser] and he would like to consolidate the two because you can’t very well rent the upstairs because no business could run simultaneously with us downstairs. And when we were upstairs we noticed that we couldn’t start till 5:30 p.m. because we would be upsetting the downstairs tenant. So it turns out that with us it’s a one tenant building. That’s what works out best.
“The gentleman who’s bought it is also aware of our tie-in to The 39 Days of July [festival]. It would be pretty hard to imagine one without the other.”
Buying the structure outright is the optimum plan for Falkner.
“One of the reasons we wanted to buy the building is so we could lower our rent. Our mortgage payments would be less than our rent. There would be no profit involved in the rental. It would be just paying the bills. People are asking, why are we helping Long John buy a building? Once we can secure the building, I think I have proven to the community that my heart lies in the performing arts, and having spent most of an inheritance maintaining the arts in the community I would be looking up avenues for ways to keep that as a performance stage in downtown Duncan.
“The building is more than 100 years old. I personally had a look underneath when we were doing the cement work for the wall, and I was glad to see that, being the first big building in Duncan, they made sure it was done really well. That’s was the nature of it. No one took short cuts.”
Falkner walks his talk, putting his time and effort into many young, local performers in particular.
“In our 15th year of bringing music and community together, the Duncan Showroom once again extends its hand to the community that we hope and trust will support our ongoing endeavours of providing a safe venue for all ages to experience and enjoy the benefits of live music as an audience member or as a performer,” he said.
There are several ways to donate: If a donor were to want to purchase a brick as a foundation supporter of this Showroom campaign, with a $100 or $500 or more donation, upon request, one of the many pieces of granite/marble that grace the Showroom shelves could have the supporter’s name applied to it.
It’s also possible to pledge a large donation upon condition Falkner and his supporters meet their goal.
It’s also possible to purchase $100 of Duncan Showroom “Showdough” to gift to friends so they discover a special Showroom concert experience.
And finally, if Showroom alumni, the well over 20,000 performers who have graced the Showroom stage in three locations in 15 years to date and raved about the experience were to offer up $2- $5 even $10 each, or the price of even one CD they sold here, “hell, we would easily be able to to purchase the building,” Falkner says.