Why is Bricker-Price Block Non-Profit?

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I’ve gotten asked this question a few times, “Why is Bricker-Price Block Non-Profit?”

If this is the first time you are hearing this, that’s correct – our local performance and event venue, Bricker-Price Block is, in fact, a 501(c) (3) which means it’s our organization’s goal to NOT make a profit.

Let me say this again for the people in the back of the room, Bricker-Price Block is not interested in making money. We are just interested in paying our bills to keep the lights on, the heat/air conditioning running and the free WiFi streaming. 

Why in the world would we do that?

Our mission is to provide a unique rental venue and event space that brings our community together in interesting and entertaining ways. We are very similar to the Blank Park Zoo or the Science Center of Iowa… only less black rhinos and no IMAX theatre.

Being a non-profit also makes us eligible to apply for grants that specifically achieve our community-focused mission. The perfect example of this is our Kid’s Club.

Kids showing off their silly faces during Bricker-Price Blocks local and affordable summer camps called Kid's Club.
Bricker-Price Block’s Kid’s Club: Making a Mess Camp

Our Kid’s Club is a schedule full of local and affordable summer educational programming that’s hosted by local teachers and other area organizations like Iowa State University Extension and Outreach: Madison County and the Des Moines Art Center.

Last fall, Bricker-Price Block applied and was awarded an anonymous grant to host the Kid’s Club camps and classes for children and provide FREE camps and classes specifically for children that fall within the 250% of the Federal Poverty Line.

Two girls making towers our of paper, paperclips and tape at Bricker-Price Block's Kid's Club.
Bricker-Price Block’s Kid’s Club: Making a Mess Camp

According to United Way of Central Iowa, only 22.9% of central Iowans live ABOVE the 250% Federal Poverty Line. And according to the National Center for Children in Poverty, poverty is the single greatest threat to children’s well-being. This is why offering free educational monogramming for that population in our community is so important to us!

Why is the community’s support is so vital to our mission?

Understanding our community’s needs so important and vital to achieve our community-focused mission. This why we frequently ask for feedback and encourage participation.

Without our community supporting our efforts, attending our events and providing valuable feedback, the Bricker-Price Block Board of Directors and I are not fulfilling our vision and mission to continue to provide a community-driven, innovative event space and affordable, one-of-a-kind rental venue. We want to be the most cost-effective place to go to when you need a place to host your daughter’s bridal or baby shower. We want to be the go-to event space for a date night with your husband that’s close to home. We want to be able to provide extracurricular educational and cultural experiences for our community, youth to seniors, at little to no cost.

If you want to get involved with or donate to Bricker-Price Block’s mission, please contact us. We’d love to hear from you!

Being Practical When Selecting an Event Venue: Part One

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If you search Google to find a performance or event venue near you, you will most likely get a million results for wedding venues. But, what about venues for bridal showers, class reunions, birthday parties, meetings, bridal showers or any other social gathering? No matter what type of event you are planning, the venue or space you choose is a vital part to the success. Here are a few practical things to consider when booking an event venue:

Space

Do you know how many guest are coming? I think that is one of the most important details to figure out before you contact an event venue. Make a quick guest list on a piece of paper, or better yet – make a guest list in Microsoft Excel so that you can keep it for future events. Or, you could event use it to make address labels for your invites and thank you’s.

Once you have that guest list, make sure your venue can accommodate. If you will have 50 guests, find a venue that can hold about 75. I don’t suggest finding one that hold 200 for 50 guests, because you will have too much room to fill

with tables or decorations.

You could also consider an event venue like Bricker-Price Block in Earlham, Iowa that has a space that can easily be split in half. Our space can hold up to 140 seated guests, but you can save some money and only rent half the space for about 80 people.  At Bricker-Price Block, we have accommodated guest anywhere from 20 to 75 guests on just one side of our building.

Price

That brings me to my next point. According to WeddingWire.com, most couples spend between $2,700 and $10,500 for their wedding venue.  There are actually several ways to pinch pennies when it comes to a venue for any type of event.

First, you should consider what day of the week you have your social get-together. Typically, Saturday nights are the most popular and the highest cost.

Second, if you are only using half of the rental space, try to negotiate to only have to pay half of the rental fee. At Bricker-Price Block, you will only pay for the space you need. We rent out half of our space for half of the price more often that we rent out the entire space.

Lastly, consider finding a space that doesn’t require a lot of decorating. Book a venue like an old church with large stained glass windows, an eclectic store with vintage pieces or a historic building like Bricker-Price Block that feature original hardwood floors and 8-foot windows that provide a ton of natural light.

There are several other factors to consider when booking an event venue. Stay tuned to my next blog posts where I’ll discuss other aspects to consider like accommodations and accessibility.

Why We Are Called “Bricker-Price Block”

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The names “Bricker” and “Price” came from the first two owners of the building. Cephas D. Bricker and Walter J. Price began construction on what would become known as the Bricker-Price Block just 30 years after Earlham, Iowa was established. Though each half was owned separately, the contractor J.E. Walton built the structure with a unified facade, matching cast-iron storefronts, and a shared central staircase.

Just one, short year after the iconic building was established, disaster struck Earlham’s central business district. A fire was discovered in the early morning hours of September 3, 1901, and it engulfed the wood structures in its path including the post office, butcher shop, restaurant and other retail stores.

The town’s hand-pump fire engine was overpowered by the flames until it reach the new Bricker-Price Block. The building’s brick-and-mortar construction was resistant to burning, and slowed the fire enough for it to be extinguished.

Though heavily damaged, the building survived, and later the Earlham town council credited the building with preventing any further damaged to the town.

That fire did not stop C.D. Bricker or W.F. Price from continuing their business ventures. Bricker’s business grew to include five general merchandise outlets, with Earlham as the flagship location. The W.F. Price & Co. operated for several decades, eventually closing in the 1930’s.

Overcoming the Odds

The Bricker-Price Block building was rebuilt, and over the next century it was home to many commercial endeavors including the Hawkeye Telephone Company from 1902 to 1928. It also served as a professional office space, a grocery store and a drug store. For a time, it even functioned as a unique, downtown residence complete with a personal elevator.

Unfortunately, another disaster struck the building in the spring of 2015. A strong storm uplifted the roof and caused catastrophic water damage which left the building unoccupied and falling into disrepair.

That along with the building’s history is what sparked a grassroots movement, and together the people of Earlham orchestrated a rehabilitation of the Bricker-Price Block. Through their efforts, the building is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a building worthy of preservation.

In 2018, more than a century after its doors first opened, the Bricker-Price Block once again welcomed the community inside, this time as a social gathering place reflecting the vibrant spirit of Earlham’s people.

While the building is a meaningful part of the Bricker and Price family stories, its central location and unique construction also make it an important witness to Earlham’s rich history.