The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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April 28, 2014

War Memorial Authority hears glowing fiscal report

JOHNSTOWN — The Cambria County War Memorial Arena does not owe money to any vendor or utility company. Plus, every payment due to the facility from other businesses and organizations has been collected.

So, all the books are now squared, which bodes well for the upcoming months.

“Our rolling forecast, right now, we’re under budget for the entire fiscal year, which we’re very proud of,” said Karen Gregorchik, the facility’s assistant general manager, during a meeting of the Cambria County War Memorial Authority on Monday. “Things are just good.”

The arena strengthened its financial condition thanks to what Gregorchik and General Manager Tom Grenell called the best quarter they can remember. Between January and March, the facility generated $864,000 in ticket sales, thanks to hosting Johnstown Tomahawks hockey games and concerts, including a show by The Beach Boys, along with other events.

The authority recently presented the city of Johnstown with a check for more than $40,000 collected in tax revenue on sales.

Grenell and Gregorchik specifically loaded up the first-quarter schedule after studying past years and realizing that was the best time to hold events.

“We built the business model taking our cues from retail,” said Grenell.

“The fourth quarter in retail is where they pay all the bills, the Christmas shopping. We looked at it from a statistical analysis that profitable shows were our best possibility of closing the financial gap.”

He added, “It was extremely tight budgeting. We’re really proud of our budget. We put a realistic budget together and we put a realistic business plan together. And we managed both of them.”

Money was also brought in by aggressively collecting payments owed to the facility.

“I collect all my receivables,” Gregorchik said.

“I’m adamant. I’ll go after a company. I’ll just keep calling because people call me constantly. All my receivables are received. The whole hockey season, all the leagues are all paid in full. There’s not a receivable due to me. I’m proud of that, too.”

The War Memorial, a facility managed by SMG, has paid off $391,000 in bills since the middle of March.

“The local vendors are paid up,” Grenell said. “The utilities are paid up. We’re current, and we’re very proud of it.”

Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/Dave_Sutor.

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