The arts brings business to a community.
That was the message of Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno's visit to the Paper Mill Playhouse this week as she met local business owners with township officials about the financial impact of the playhouse on the community.
"The theater brings in 200,000 patrons every year," the playhouse's managing director, Todd Schmidt, said. According to Schmidt, that brings in over $20 million to the community,"It's a remarkable feat."
As part of the her "Art's Mean Business" tour, Guadagno stopped at the Paper Mill Playhouse Wednesday afternoon to learn about the impact arts have on businesses in townships throughout New Jersey. Also on the tour were Long Beach Island and Red Bank.
"It's a huge economic engine," Teddy Stampoulos, owner of the nearby , said, explaining when there's a show playing in town business is up 10 percent.
Guadagno also discussed the odd relationship the playhouse has had with the town since it almost closed down in 2007. The township stepped in when the 69-year-old theatre was about to close down by buying the playhouse's property. Currently, the playhouse leases the land from the town and has help with finances from Business Administrator Tim Gordon on the Board of Trusttees.
"It's a unique business model," Guadagno said.
Currently, Paper Mill Playhouse has $14.6 million budget, which makes it the largest small town theater across the country, according to Schmidt. The theater management said it's all thanks to investors who contribute $3 million a year.
“Investors Bank was the first to step up to provide financial assistance to Paper Mill Playhouse during our time our need,” Schmidt said later. “Investors is our largest corporate sponsor, a terrific community partner and their continued support allows Paper Mill to thrive.”