Doug Sharp and Brad Johnson are now managing the Goss Opera House as they work through a new foundation, Friends of the Goss, to purchase the building on behalf of the community. After examining the Goss finances Johnson said it was clear that the Goss Opera House building is not sustainable unless it is operated though a foundation. He said the restaurant/bar simply cannot generate enough income to support a 50,000 square foot facility. David Berry, the owner of the Goss was on the verge of closing it on April 30, at which time a group of Watertown business leaders stepped up to ensure that it remained open. He said they believe a successful Goss building will be the catalyst for downtown Watertown. The Friends of the Goss was formed as a non-profit to raise money to assist in purchasing the building and ensuring its continuous operation. The bar/restaurant cannot be run by a non-profit, so Doug Sharp and Brad Johnson entered into a management agreement with David Berry as well as securing a purchase option that will eventually allow the non-profit to own the building. Neither Doug nor Johnson enter into this anticipating this being a profitable venture for them. In fact, They’re both contributing personal resources to make the exchange succeed. In the event any profits are generated, all money returns to the foundation. Johnson added that he and Doug cannot do this alone and that they will be working to rally community support for the project. He says that, either the community of Watertown embraces this effort, or the Goss eventually will close. You can hear more with Johnson below on the audio tab.
- Johnsn said that here’s what you can do in the short term.
Please patronize the coffee shop, bar and restaurant and tell your friends the Goss is open for business. We have good on-site managers who will work to make your visit enjoyable. Send your friends to the Goss and schedule company or organizational events there.
Consider becoming a member of Friends of the Goss. Email me if you want to become involved as a volunteer. We have lots of tasks ahead.
Consider contributing financially. We will be reaching out directly to many people. This is a significant community endeavor, but the communities of Spearfish and Lead have rallied to save their historic opera house. The Goss is one of four remaining opera houses in South Dakota.
He’s asking the public to message him back if you want to help or have ideas. He said they need your support!!