Activity up, revenues down at Dalton Trade Center

Activity up, revenues down at Dalton Trade Center

June 25th, 2009 by Kelly Jackson in Georgia

Staff File Photo by Meghan Brown The North West Georgia Trade and Convention Center in Dalton, Ga., is visible from a helicopter.

DALTON, Ga. -- The number of events is increasing at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center under new management, but the facility is generating less revenue than expected.

Global Spectrum, a public arena consulting and management firm based in Philadelphia, took over management of the trade center in January. On Wednesday, during the monthly meeting of the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center Authority, General Manager Shashank Gairola reported that events held in May generated about $13,000 more than those in May 2008.

But the gross income of about $107,000 still was about $105,000 less than what was projected in the May budget, according to financial documents presented at the meeting.

"For this year, it's the highest revenue for a single month, which is great because it shows that we are building especially before the slow months of summer," Mr. Gairola said in an interview after the meeting. "We are excited that, at least in a down economy, it (income) was higher than last year's. That's a good, positive sign ... we were able to improve."

Mr. Gairola said there were 51 events in May, well above the 39 expected when the budget was prepared. A big reason the events didn't equate to the expected gross income is that people are spending less on events, citing less money spent on catering and reduced attendance.

"That's the shortfall we are seeing," he said.

Whitfield County Administrator Robert McLeod said the number of events that were held in May is encouraging.

UPCOMING EVENTS

* NCMA Karate Tournament. Saturday. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

* Indoor Yard Sale preview party. July 17. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

* Indoor Yard Sale. July 18. 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

* Dalton Fight Night (mIxed martial arts). July 25. 7:30 p.m.

Source: www.daltontradecenter.com

"The fact that you had the volume you did is very good," he told Mr. Gairola in the meeting.

In the 2009 budget, the center planned to generate $1.8 million of its total operating budget of $2.6 million. Mr. Gairola said they need to see about $1.4 million in revenue between now and the end of the year to achieve that goal, but he's optimistic a strong push will allow them to catch up.

"We're not giving up on the year-end," he said. "(We) hope to get to that point."

The trade center is funded by a hotel-motel tax, local governments and revenue generated by the facility.

The Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center Authority board brought Global Spectrum in to help reduce the subsidy the trade center needs from the hotel-motel tax in order to operate, Mr. Gairola said. He said the company will make budget adjustments as necessary after this initial year.

The company has made a number of positive changes, he said, including improvements in customer services and the facility itself.

Officials at the center are working to bring in more events that community members want to see, such as concerts and basketball games, Mr. Gairola said.