Saving the Englert
I wrote down about six places, and about four of them are sort of wild, outdoor places. One of them is a fishing spot up on Spring Branch Creek, which is kind of outside of Manchester, Iowa, but I’m going to mention a place here in town, which would be the Englert Theatre. In 1999, the company that owned the Englert decided to shut it down, and they were going to sell it to a local bar owner here in town. And Jim Harris, who is a good friend of mine, and former owner of Prairie Lights Bookstore, which is also a place on my list—I guess I was walking by the Englert and there was a little piece of paper on the door and it said help us save the Englert for, you know, turn it into something for the community, et cetera. Honestly, I thought, “Why would anybody want to do that?” Then it turned out that Jim was one of the people who was on the committee to do that, and he said, “Well, for example, (??) has got an opera house, and Pella’s got an opera house that they’ve reserved. If they can do that, why can’t we do that?” And then he said “They’re trying to get a board of directors together and I don’t want to be on the board, but I think you should be on it.” And for some reason, I found that persuasive, and I did end up on the board of the Englert, and as a result of working on that, we had essentially 9 months to initially raise $500,000 to buy the building from the city, who had decided not to sell it to a bar owner. The city sort of held it in trust for a little while. But as a result of working on that campaign and being on the board, I met my wife, who was a volunteer at the Englert. And I met a lot of great people in town, and it was just a terrific experience. I’m very very pleased with the way it’s turned out and what it’s become for the community, so I always feel good whenever I go in there.
[That has a bait and hook theme.]