Posted by: COSI | April 10, 2009

What if No One Shows Up?

Do you host parties and then have great anxiety wondering if anyone will show or if the party will be a bust?

I spend most of my days having a first thought and assessment of whether people will be showing up at COSI that day. Weather, timing factors, school schedule, competition for people’s “leisure” time all get quickly factored in and then checked as I observe the entrance out of my office window or when I’m in and out of the parking lot.

Our good team at the box office know to start pulling up the computer system numbers as soon as they see me walking their way. So why am I so obsessed with this?

Because COSI relies on over 50% of its support funds from earned revenue and the single largest contributor is the admission and membership income from people visiting us. With the serious cuts we’ve taken in our public funding sources our earned income has become more important than ever.

This week has been a particularly anxious week for me. With a significant number of schools on Spring Break and with this being Good Friday, we traditionally count on significant attendance, and income, during this week. But we added to that anxiousness with the opening of our Innovation Showcase on Wednesday evening. We have been a long time planning this changing exhibition area where we pull out cool stories of local innovation and the scientists, engineers, and researchers behind them. We will build programming off of those stories and people so you can meet some of them. And it was a new idea and a new type of relationship for us, and a potential source of new revenue through sponsorships and program revenue. But ‘til now it’s just been an idea with aspirations attached to it.

Grand Opening of COSI's Innovation Showcase

Grand Opening of COSI's Innovation Showcase

So would anyone show at the kick-off? The atrium at COSI can look sooo empty if you don’t reach a critical mass of people. TechColumbus and TechLife partnered with us to get the word out, we got other innovative companies to sign up to showcase their work in addition to the featured companies in the first iteration of the Innovation Showcase, and then I held my breath.

So when the evening came and roughly 350 people from the innovation and technology community of Central Ohio filled our space with energy, good vibes, and interest I was so relieved. This was just the validation I was hoping for as we look to expand our role in the community—serve 3000 families, children, and adults during the day with our core experiences, then switch over in 30 minutes to become a gathering place for the tech and innovation community.

Sometimes you throw a party and the folks DO show up.
And today is raining—I’m hoping for a great Good Friday crowd! 😉

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