Owensboro Convention Center has record fiscal year despite COVID
OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - In a year with COVID-19 restrictions keeping people from going out or gathering, the Owensboro Convention Center says they just completed their best-ever fiscal year.
The Owensboro Convention Center has been open for less than a decade. In that time it’s seen its share of ups and downs. It just completed its most recent fiscal year, and center officials say even COVID-19 couldn’t stop it from breaking records.
Crowds came to the Owensboro Convention Center this week for the Pigtails & Cowlicks Kids Consignment Sale. People came to search for the perfect items for their little ones, something that wouldn’t have been possible even a few months ago.
“The COVID pandemic was devastating for a lot of people and a lot of industries, including ours,” said Owensboro Convention Center General Manager Jeff Esposito. “Hospitality stopped.”
Officials with the convention center say their most profitable year was 2019, the year before the pandemic. This past fiscal year beat 2019′s operating subsidy by more than $18,000.
Officials say the pandemic pushed them to adapt to their new situation.
“When there were a lot of restrictions due to COVID, during the pandemic, it [caused] a lot of creative thinking trying to figure out ‘what can we do?’” said Visit Owensboro Destination Development and Sports Management Director Chris Gendek.
Officials say they worked during the pandemic to make sure people felt safe in the building, and after restrictions lifted they hit the ground running.
“It was a really well-planned, as much as you could, rebound after COVID,” said Esposito. “It was adopting some really top-level cleaning strategies so that conventions and others felt comfortable coming here.”
Officials say they’ve rebooked many events they’ve hosted in the past, and they’ve had success bringing in new events as well.
For now, officials at the convention center say they’re happy to see the crowds coming back.
Those at the convention center say the future is looking bright as well. Officials say they have $250,000 more on their books right now than they did at the beginning of their last fiscal year.
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