THE ECONOMY DIRECTLY
When Warehouse Alliance 501(c)3 puts on concerts at the Warehouse, young adults come from all over Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. If the performers are exciting enough, people drive from as far away as Illinois, Upper Michigan, and the Dakotas. These people help support the community as much as they help support the Warehouse.
Travelers for shows fill up their gas tanks in La Crosse. Bands fill up their gas tanks in La Crosse. Bands and concertgoers spend money eating at local restaurants, shopping at local convenience stores, record stores, music stores, hair salons, coffeeshops, book stores, antique shops, resale clothing shops, tattoo shops, and ice cream shops. Many have even discovered Pleasoning, La Crosse’s hometown spice company.
Travelers and bands spend money on hotel rooms in La Crosse. They sometimes get to town early enough to catch a matinee movie. They buy footwear, they buy gifts for families back home, they service their vehicles at local auto repair shops and truck repair shops.
While in town early, concertgoers sometimes combine their concert day with a tour of Viterbo University, Western Technical College, or the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Students have cited their reason for choosing La Crosse as their location for higher learning was that they would get to see bands they, love playing at the Warehouse.
THE ECONOMY LONG-TERM
Warehouse is an economic engine for the community at large, and a long-term community development engine, as these bands and concertgoers often come back to the city just to vacation. They frequently comment on the City’s major accomplishment of saving a central core of historic buildings, as many cities destroy those buildings first, in the name of progress. They love the river, the parks, Grandad’s Bluff, and especially the friendliness of the people.
Various band members from cities across the US will stop in to say hello when they come to town on vacation. It is always great to know that the hospitality and uniqueness of La Crosse motivated someone who has traveled the entire country to come back here for vacation, when their choices for time off locales are limitless.
The downtown area has always been an entertainment district, although mostly focused on bars.
While La Crosse has a rich brewing tradition that includes major breweries and microbreweries, La Crosse also has a binge-drinking problem that cannot be denied. By locating downtown, Warehouse has always believed that there should be room in this entertainment district for retail, restaurants, AND bars. Throwing in the towel and relocating to a non-centralized non-downtown location has always felt like it would be deserting the core values of creating a non-alcohol oasis for young adults where it is needed most.
With property being developed at an alarming rate in the downtown, and the core historic district slowly feeling the encroachment of big development and gentrification, one of Warehouse Alliance’s values is commitment to the downtown as a safe entertainment and shopping district and to preserve, maintain, and improve the historic building in which they operate their all-ages performance space. Warehouse Alliance is a member of Downtown Mainstreet, Inc.
FOR THE KIDS
Well-rounded, open-minded, self-aware, self-confident. These are terms often used to describe “Warehouse Kids”. Young adults who have the opportunity to form their own communities with kids from other cities and states. What other field of endeavor could kids from Minneapolis and Sparta and Decorah come together and become friends?
Music and camaraderie while watching popular music concerts creates friendships that sometimes are just as strong 20 years later.
FOR THE YOUNG MUSICIANS
For young rock musicians, times are always tough. In school if they want to play an instrument, it’s “pick out an instrument for the marching band”. If a young adult wants to take up track & field, baseball, football, theater, show choir, hockey, soccer, forensics, etc., there is a school system in place to make that happen. As soon as that same kid wants to pick up a guitar to play rock music, the system fails. He is stuck practicing in the garage, or the basement, and generally can only “perform” in those same places. Through the Warehouse, what the Warehouse Alliance provides for those young musicians is a chance to showcase their talents on a real stage with a big sound system and stage lights, and give them an idea on how a performance is actually run, and do it in a non-institutional environment with some “street” credibility.
Suddenly, they’re not the outcasts they thought they were, and other kids from all the Coulee Region over embrace them as one of their own.
The Alliance has many plans and ideas for the future, including
- providing free supervised band rehearsal spaces so those young musicians can get out of the house and not drive Mom and Dad crazy
- arranging discounted music lessons by working with local music stores and teachers to provide lessons at supplemented rates so they are affordable for any young adult who wants instruction
- bring in national musicians, artists, music business professionals, and educators, to give presentations to young musicians about all facets of music and the music industry, technology, educational opportunities at music education schools, etc
- expanding hours to include events and opportunities for enhancement on days and nights when there is not a concert
- incorporate more volunteers to start additional projects in the worksA high-priority is being placed on finishing the multi-room recording facility that will allow young musicians to record their own songs and learn the recording process while being able to self-critique in a studio environment.
Many more ideas are on the table to examine while we partner with the community on this annual funding drive and continue moving forward.
SUPPORTING WAREHOUSE ALLIANCE IS SUPPORTING THE COMMUNITY. Please consider joining us by contributing now.