dpiX CEO Caris, Philharmonic seek small businesses support

A group of business leaders are spreading the word that the Colorado Springs Philharmonic is good for business.

A Colorado Springs Philharmonic business advisory committee headed by dpiX CEO Frank Caris is telling small and large businesses that a vibrant arts community could be the ticket to attracting new businesses and employees.

This week, the Philharmonic launched its Business Partners Initiative to inspire corporate and small business support. Caris heads the 13-member Business Advisory Council.

“Leaders in business share an interest in quality of life, essential to attracting and retaining a creative and driven workforce,” said Caris, who also is Philharmonic board member. “The Philharmonic does so much to promote the quality of life in our region.”

The Business Partners initiative is the second phase of the Philharmonic’s efforts to gain more exposure in the community. For the past four years, the Philharmonic has been focused on growing its attendance, said Philharmonic CEO Nathan Newbrough.

Since 2009, season ticket sales have grown 170 percent, from 870 to 2,365. No other Philharmonic has seen that kind of growth, he said. Part of the growing interest can be attributed to the discounts for new season ticket buyers. The Philharmonic offers 50 percent discount to new season ticket buyers and offers 30 percent discount in the second year.

But, the Philharmonic also invested more into the concerts.

“We put more money on the stage and when they come to a concert, they can expect to be amazed,” Newbrough said.

Now, the Philharmonic wants to partner with businesses, Newbrough said. In a survey of the Philharmonic patrons, 96 percent said they were likely to consider buying services from a business that supports the Philharmonic, he said.

“Also, we have to be in the mindset of saying that if an employee or employer is looking at Colorado Springs, even if they never intend to come to the Pikes Peak Center, they appreciate that there is an art scene here — it’s a good investment,” Newbrough said.

Contributions to the organization make up about 46 percent of the total $2.7 million annual budget; ticket sales makes up the rest. Only about 2 percent of the contributions comes from corporate support,” Newbrough said.

“The Philharmonic already participates in the business community,” he said. “After all, a vibrant arts and cultural scene is essential to economic vitality. We hope to encourage our business community to invest in this valuable asset.”

Small business support starts at $500, which will get them marketing exposure, private receptions and concert sponsor recognition. Sponsorship starts at $5,000 and would get a business 480,000 marketing impressions, Newbrough said. A premier sponsorship is $10,000 — and for that the Philharmonic would send out a quartet, for example, to perform at a company party.

“We are poised to at least double our business contributions, Newbrough said. “And, that is conservative — I think we  will do better.”