New Business Spotlight: The LOT Downtown Hopes To Revitalize Historic Downtown Mansfield
May 13, 2016 04:39PM
By Melanie Heisinger
The LOT Downtown venue. Photo courtesy of The LOT Downtown Website.
The LOT Downtown recently held their Grand Opening event, with Sawyer Brown headlining, and was one of the very few shows where the tickets had a price. It was a ticketed fundraiser that The LOT Downtown will host annually in order to support free weekly concerts, community events and various entertainment throughout the year.
Nearly two years ago Justin Gilmore, local business owner and architect, began rough sketches of the facility that would eventually be called “The LOT Downtown.”
Today, The LOT is not only a physical structure currently under development at 108 S Main Street, but also the designation for a 501(c)3 organization responsible for it’s funding, programs and it’s future.
Many will look at the function of the building and ask themselves “why do we need to have such a venue?” The answer is simply that we cannot afford not to.
The stage symbolizes what brings people together as a family, as neighbors and ultimately as a community – a connection to a single idea, lit up beneath a spotlight. It creates opportunities for us to enjoy the company of otherwise strangers and forge new relationships. It teaches all of us how interdependent we are.
The LOT's mission is to create a place for people to come together to enjoy life through the arts.
We were lucky enough to get a chance to check in with Justin Gilmore and hear his story and mission for the impact of the business.
Tell us a little about The LOT Downtown, can you tell me when and how it was started?
JG: This project started about 4 years ago as an idea to bring people of Mansfield together in a central gathering space in Historic Downtown Mansfield. This would also help the revitalization of Historic Downtown and be a catalyst for future investment in this area.
What are your goals for the business and where do you see it heading?
JG: Our main goal is to provide family friendly entertainment that will provide entertainment in all forms of music, theater productions, movies, etc. The future of the venue depends on the people that support it. Our hope is that this becomes the central place for the arts in Mansfield, Texas for everyone in Mansfield and beyond to enjoy.
How was the Sawyer Brown event, was there a successful turnout? Do you plan on doing more like that in the future?
JG: Sawyer Brown was a very successful event. We were expecting a few more patrons, but we believe the weather that week and day of event might have played a small role in that. Even with the lower attendance than expected, it was a very successful event internally as it allowed us to see how these events can be best managed moving forward, and the smaller crowd allowed us the opportunity to step back throughout the night and evaluate instead of dealing with fire drills and the like.
What is your personal favorite aspect of the business and your mission?
JG: Built by you, for You’ this is my favorite mission. It truly is a venue that was built by the people that we hope will use it. Their dollars and sweat equity provided us a venue that these people can use throughout the year.
What's the funniest, strangest, most unusual thing people have asked you?
JG: There are no real unusual requests by people (other than my friends wanting a chance to emcee an event). The most unusual requests we got sometimes comes from artists, which is a whole other article on that topic.
Are there any recent or upcoming changes that people should know about?
JG: We don’t anticipate any major changes for this season. We are looking to add more ticketed and fundraising events to help the fundraising efforts for the continuance of the venue.
Anything else we should know about you or the The LOT?
JG: The most important part about the venue is that it is ‘built by you, for you’. We are still looking for naming rights opportunities and fund raising activities to help pay for the facility construction and the possibility of bigger, better entertainment opportunities.
The LOT depends on donations to support their events, help support them by making a donation or volunteering your time. If you are interested in making a donation, becoming a sponsor, or volunteering, you can visit their website here.
Have you been to an event at The LOT? Tell us about it by contacting us.