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Small entertainment venues asking for community support during tight restrictions

One theatre owner says he's barely making it by
Small entertainment venues asking for community support during tight restrictions
Posted at 3:18 PM, Dec 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-05 19:43:58-05

PUEBLO — Small business owners in the entertainment industry say they’re being hit just as hard as restaurants and other businesses during COVID-19 restrictions, and they also need continued support from their community to stay afloat.

For business owner Kyle Groves, magic runs in the family.

“My Dad’s actually a magician as well, and he’s been doing magic for 50 years,” Groves said. “So I grew up in the business and I knew this is exactly what I wanted to do.”

So he got into the family business. He’s part-owner of ‘The Party People’ on Union Ave. in Pueblo.

“We’re the last brick and mortar magic shop in a very wide region,” Groves said. “We’ve been going with this particular type of a venue since 1999.”

‘The Party People’ does more than just magic.

“Well we’re an entertainment venue,” he said. “We do murder mystery dinner and magic shows and fun for the entire family.”

Rather than the magic shop, it’s birthday parties and those muder mystery shows that Groves depends on.

“That is what makes us our money and allows us to remain,” he said.

But it’s been difficult lately.

“So this is actually our fourth shutdown this year,” Groves said.

This year has been a lot of optimism followed by disappointment.

“Once we were able to actually reopen in July, unfortunately we had one of our actresses come down with COVID. So we shut the business down for 5 days,” he said. “And then things were going pretty well at that point, and then the health department put out a directive that said entertainers had to be 25 feet from the audience.”

In his 23 foot long theatre, that wouldn’t cut it.

“I worked with the health department and found a way for us to stay open,” he said. “And then… level red hit.”

His livelihood is now barely there.

“If it goes much beyond January, we probably won’t be able to keep going. We have lost 80 percent of our revenue this year,” Groves said. “And it’s becoming really tough. The amount of money we have made this year is exactly what my rent is for the year.”

That’s why businesses like his need their community to support them.

“One of the things people can do right now is... purchase a ticket for a future program,” he said. “The other thing you could do is you could just do a direct donation to your favorite program.”

Groves also said if you bought a ticket for a show that ended up being canceled, it would mean a lot to small venue owners like him if you considered what you paid for that ticket a donation to those without work right now, rather than seeking a refund.