Covelli Mulls Concessions Deal

The city of Youngstown, Ohio, is considering a new vendor to manage food services for the Covelli Centre in efforts to bring more revenue to the facility.

Officials recently came up with a plan to replace the city-owned arena’s current vendor Centerplate with JAC Management, which already manages day-to-day operations at the 5,700-capacity arena.

Under the proposal, the city would pay more than $467,000 to buy Centerplate out of the remainder of its contract in order to make way for JAC, the Vindicator reported.

Officials apparently expected that the deal with Centerplate, which moved into the building after buying out previous F&B contractor Boston Culinary, would provide more than $2 million in ancillary revenues to the facility annually. Instead, the Centre received $194,563 in 2010 and $275,000 in 2009, the paper said.

Taking F&B in-house with JAC could increase venue revenues by $100,000 annually, officials said, as JAC would give the venue 37.5 percent of concession sales compared with the 27.5 percent of profits Centerplate has provided to the arena.

A deal with JAC could also free up the venue to sell concessions during outdoor shows. Centerplate’s contract reportedly prohibits outdoor sales.

Youngstown City Council President Charles Sammarone wasn’t entirely sold on the plan, and told the Vindicator he’d like to see proposals from other companies before contracting with JAC.

“What’s wrong with getting competitive proposals so we can evaluate them and honestly say this is the best one?” he said.

A proposal to build a 2,500- to 3,500-seat amphitheatre behind the Covelli Centre was also recently introduced. The project, which could reportedly cost between $600,000 and $1 million, is scheduled for further discussion at an upcoming meeting.