TEAM TURNAGE: Turnage gains support from local business community

Published 1:45 am Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A group of businesses in Beaufort County are banding together to generate awareness and support for the Turnage Theater and have pledged to donate a percentage of sales to what is one of the primary draws for the downtown area.

The businesses — Washington Book Store and Coffee Company and East Coast Book Company, owned by Ronald Lundy, Pirate Beach Wine Distributors, owned by Lundy and Michael Denny, Washington Computer Repair and Consulting, owned by Lundy and Cameron Bunch and Barks and Bubbles, owned by Susan Lundy — have pledged a percentage of their sales over several weeks throughout the month of April to bring awareness and support to the Turnage Theater, said Lundy. Pirate Beach Wine has also pledge a donation of wine for a silent auction at the Turnage. Between all of the businesses involved, the group has a goal of raising between $5,000 to $10,000 to benefit the Turnage, Lundy said.

“(The Turnage) is one of the key places downtown, if not one of the biggest drivers of traffic to the downtown area,” Lundy said. “We’re doing our best to bring attention to the fact that if people aren’t supporting the theater, it’s not going to be there forever.”

Lundy said he hopes the community will realize the Turnage’s value to the economy of Washington and the surrounding areas through its events and programs and support the theater by attending events. With the loss of a couple of big businesses in the downtown community, Lundy believes the Turnage must be supported in order to keep downtown alive and busy, meaning more dollars pouring into the economy, he said.

“If they’re not getting people in the seats, then it’s not going to be sustained,” Lundy said. “The community is not buying tickets and going to events. We’re well aware of the impact the Turnage has on our businesses. It’s just a matter of going to one or two of the events and seeing the amount of people that showed up. We want to make sure people go out and help support the theater. We’re all symbiotic down here. It has the potential to bring a lot of business and grow exponentially.”

Joey Toler, director for the Beaufort County Arts Council, said the Turnage appreciates the support of the local business community.

“I think it’s great that our local merchants are supporting us like this because it means that we are a good investment to them,” Toler said. “It, ultimately, helps their business.”

Saturday at 7 p.m., a group of homeschoolers, TEACH, will present Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, which is open to the public. Next weekend, the Turnage will have an eventful weekend. On April 24, it will host the Tar River Swing Band at 8 p.m. Tickets are available online, at the box office or by phone. On April 25, the Boco Music Festival will be in full swing, as will Washington Harbor District Alliance’s Marine Market event. The two organizations partner to host the events simultaneously, a big draw for the downtown area and surrounding areas, Toler said.

“I hope that the public supports these businesses that are supporting us,” Toler said. “Because we all support each other, and we just really thank them for helping us. It just really means a lot.”

To donate, become a member or buy tickets to upcoming events, contact the Beaufort County Arts Council at 252-946-2504.