CBJ Report: Minutes detail newbo evolve concerns, misrepresentations

"newbo evolve" took place Friday, Aug 3-Sunday, Aug 5. (Photo courtesy newbo evolve)

Minutes detail newbo evolve concerns, misrepresentations

GO Cedar Rapids' board of directors this week released a year of meeting minutes that underscore the board had budgetary concerns about the newbo evolve festival, which lost $2.3 million over the weekend of Aug. 3-5, and back up statements made last week that the recently terminated CEO and events director of the group exaggerated the event's financial prospects.

"In the last week and a half ticket sales have spiked," the July 18 meeting minutes said, paraphrasing a report to the board. Mr. McCreight was the only senior staff member listed in attendance. "The passes are moving slowly but the concerts are climbing. Maroon 5 is at 9,000 and Kelly Clarkson is at 6,000. We need the board members to talk to people about how great this is for the community and ask people to buy tickets."

On March 27, the board was told that sponsorships secured for the event were nearing $300,000, when in fact the actual amount raised was $260,000. However the staff reported on May 16 that "cash flow is still an issue, as we had originally budgeted to have a lot more passes sold at this point which isn't the case." The minutes said Board Chair John Myers and Treasurer Seth Wear were keeping a close eye on cash flow, adding "The budget has been reduced and we are getting to what is more realistic for future planning."

Minutes also indicate that GO Cedar Rapids staff last spring terminated a public relations agency that it didn't feel was supporting the event property and hired a more expensive agency that it felt would do a better job.

CEO Aaron McCreight and Director of Community Events Scott Tallman were dismissed after the scope of the loss on the event, which was roughly three times the amount the board expected it to lose, came to light this month. The organization announced the hiring of Jim Haddad, former Yellowbook CFO, as interm CEO on Monday.

Large portions of the minutes were redacted, which the board said was done to protect confidentiality of specific contractual matters. As a non-governmental organization, GO Cedar Rapids says it isn't legally required to release minutes, but did so to increase transparency.

Bread Garden in, Java House out at UIHC kiosks

About two weeks after setting off a social media outcry over its decision to terminate its 14-year-old contract with Java House, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has named the new operator of four hospital locations: the Bread Garden Market and Bakery, headquartered in downtown Iowa City.

"We are pleased and excited to announce the selection of Bread Garden Market, a locally-owned business, as our new vendor that will operate four kiosk locations here," UIHC said in a statement released yesterday.

"Bread Garden Market opened in downtown Iowa City in 1995, and has built an unrivaled reputation for providing high quality, homemade food and beverages."

Bread Garden Market will begin service Nov. 1 at locations in the Roy Carver Pavillion, General Hospital, the Pomerantz Family Pavilion and the Stead Family Children's Hospital.

Java House, which has been told to vacate those sites by the end of October, will continue to operate its location in the Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building on the health sciences campus and in the Iowa Memorial Union.

UIHC received a total of seven bids during "a fair and open competitive bid process," with the review team unanimously recommending acceptance of the Bread Garden Market bid.

Under the terms of the two-year contract, Bread Garden will pay upwards of $58,000 annually in rent and share profits on a sliding scale ranging from 18 percent on revenue up to $1 million to 22 percent on revue over $3 million. Java House paid over $50,000 in annual rent with revenue sharing topping out at 17 percent.

In its statement UIHC, which has faced difficult financial decisions in recent years, emphasized Bread Garden's willingness to adapt and expand for the hospital market: "One of the important features of the winning bid was the Bread Garden Market's vision for expanding their service and providing a complete range of menu options for patients, visitors, and staff," it said.

"We intend to create an environment that allows guests to proudly tell their family, friends and associates to Meet Me at the Bread Garden Cafe where they will find fresh flavors served by familiar faces," Bread Garden said in a statement of its own posted on Facebook, adding that it encouraged current hospital coffee shop employees to join its new team.

Eight UI students to open collaborative retail space in IRL

Eight University of Iowa student-led businesses will open Foundry IRL, a collaborative retail space at the Iowa River Landing district in Coralville.

Set to open next month, Foundry IRL will feature sustainable object and furniture designs by Vako Design, streetwear collections by Almvghty, Elevated Supply Company and Kulture Vaccine, accessories by Conquer Accessories, Yiran Li Design and Wanderlust Wraps and on-site cell phone repair by Parametecs.

Each business has already established a following through online retail, social media and local pop-up shops, but for most, Foundry will represent their first brick-and-mortar retail space.

The eight student entrepreneurs will also gain hands-on experience in floor design, merchandising, promotions, event management and customer service.

The concept for Foundry IRL arose when Iowa City real estate developer and IRL consultant Deanna Trumbull served as a mentor for several student-led business developing retail products. Ms. Trumbull approached the city of Coralville to propose that the IRL lease a space to a collaborative of startups.

"A number of cities are making shared spaces for local products a key feature of retail development," Ms. Trumbull said in a statement. "This mix of edgy startups alongside major national brands makes for an exciting visitor experience, and highlights Iowa's creative energy."

Lynn Allendorf, director of the Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, where the student businesses receive guidance and support added, "I'm excited to see these talented students take on this business endeavor. When student entrepreneurs integrate with the community, not only does it build our economy but it also encourages students to stay in Iowa after graduation."

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