Bloomington offering businesses opportunity to man Grossinger Motors Arena concessions, city manager says staff still scouting for shows

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — The city of Bloomington is offering local businesses an opportunity at the city’s Grossinger Motors Arena.

City staff are calling on interested businesses to man concessions stands within the arena for the two events scheduled to take place at the arena next month. In partnership with the city, a business would be responsible for 100% of food, beverage and staffing of the stand.

City Clerk Leslie Yocum said it’s a unique way to allow businesses to recoup some income after the pandemic forced many into temporary closures as well as a means of advertising. Yocum said they’re still working out how much income a partnering business would receive from working the events.

“We haven’t exactly fine-tuned what that arrangement will look like. I think honestly we need to see that there’s an interest in the community from these businesses, but we’re completely open to a share with it, 100% going to them, whatever we need to do to make it happen,” Yocum said.

Businesses who are interested must be located within city limits and a city of Bloomington liquor license within good standing and a minimum Class C McLean County Food permit in good standing.

A business must also be able to staff at least seven people for the events.

Businesses that interested should contact the city clerk at lyocum@cityblm.org by Oct. 1.

Events Update at the arena:

The two events scheduled next month at the Grossinger Motors Arena are makeups from 2020 after COVID-19 forced acts to cancel or postpone shows.

On Oct.18, Christian-rock band Casting Crowns will perform, and on Oct. 28 contemporary Christian singer Lauren Daigle will take the stage.

These two performances will be the first major live events held at the arena since February of 2020 when the arena hosted PAW Patrol Live. It’s also hosted state wrestling tournaments and various hockey games.

Bloomington City Manager Tim Gleason said currently no other events are scheduled for the rest of the year, but staff is working to get more dates on the calendar.

Gleason said getting acts to commit has been tough for the past year.

“We’re sending staff to different trade shows trying to reach out to acts that are considering traveling,” Gleason said. “While you’ve seen an uptick in that area, there’s still acts that have very restrictive COVID requirements of any of the staff that are around them and some aren’t just touring.”

Gleason said staff is committed to providing high-quality entertainment to Bloomington residents, but did add it’s not always a money-maker for the city.

“It’s one way we try to make money obviously, but also when you have a coliseum or arena as a municipal entity, we know that it’s an amenity for the community and just that acceptance, break-even, becomes a goal sometimes,” Gleason said.

The arena has hosted major COVID-19 vaccination clinics in the past and is currently hosting Thursday vaccine clinics.

Illinois State Redbirds Hockey is also playing its home games at the arena in front of live fans.

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