North Carolina Symphony—Retail Store
Put the box office in a retail store
Office space for the North Carolina Symphony was previously located inside the concert hall. Because offices were located in the basement, and particularly because organizational growth required more offices, the orchestra began searching for a new office site. The existing offices also housed the box office, which required patrons to travel through the office space and into an unfamiliar part of the concert hall in order to buy tickets. In addition to this slightly unwanted display of symphony office space during the ticket purchasing process, the NCS also wanted a box office in a more centrally located area.
How it works:
The NCS found office space in a prime location of Raleigh, sitting alongside respectable retail stores, offices, and dining locations. NCS created a gift shop on the bottom floor of their offices, selling symphony memorabilia, CDs, books, apparel, and other collectibles. While the idea of a symphony store is not unique to NCS, using a symphony store to front the box office is certainly more distinctive. The box office staff now reside in the retail store, sometimes staffing the store, though volunteers comprise the largest roster of help behind the sales counter. The long range goal of the retail store is to run a profit, following a business model, unlike the not-for-profit parent organization. NCS followed a learning curve through the for-profit process—including the rental expenses—but believes the current result to be well worth the journey.
Because the store started in June 2005, there has been little time to study the effects. The NCS believes there has been an increase in ticket sales from the more centrally located box office, as well as a potential new source of income from the future store profits. More than anything, the store provides publicity in a terrific retail area, as well as a great front for the box office.
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