Executive Director of Finley Stadium Chris Thomas told the board of directors on Tuesday that the balance sheet looks healthy and that finances are where they were expected to be - aided by a new dining concept. Revenue comes from use of facilities in the stadium campus in addition to partners UTC football and Chattanooga Football Club soccer.
A new business that is operating out of the space in the pavilion that was formerly Chattanooga Kitchen has a bright outlook.
The space had been designed for caterers to rent as a temporary place for preparing food. That arrangement has been replaced by Reef Kitchens which is a new concept in Chattanooga. When the board first heard of The Reef Kitchens, it sounded speculative, said board member Gordon Davenport, but it turns out that it will be the way of the future, he said. "We were wise to get involved," said Mr. Davenport, it is seen as direct competition to traditional restaurants.
The business known as a “ghost kitchen” has 15 chefs during different times, and operates multiple restaurants with different menus from one location. There is no sit-down service and food is sold for delivery only, which uses services such as Uber Eats, Doordash and Grubhub. The business is owned by Reef Parking which bought out Republic Parking in Chattanooga. Income from event and permit parking is also expected to be up for the year once all reports are submitted by Reef Parking.
The profit and loss statement for the Stadium Corporation from July through September shows that net income is down by $129,000. However, Mr. Davenport said that $300,000 that the city of Chattanooga and Hamilton County contributed was restricted for buying the new digital screen for the stadium. That was considered to be pass-through income. If that amount is taken away, he said that the operating net income has actually increased by $170,000.
The management team for Finley Stadium has some new members. Sarah Beairsto is food and beverage manager Sarah Hooper’s new assistant. She reported to the board that the weekend of the most recent Ironman that took place in the city, the stadium’s catering service fed 2,000 athletes, which was a $12,000 catering event. An after-party was also hosted by the stadium staff at the First Tennessee Pavilion. Finley Stadium has a multi-year agreement with Ironman.
Facilities Manager Peter Turk recently joined the stadium staff. He told the board that a large capital improvement project is now complete. A new HVAC system has been installed which can be controlled remotely. Energy savings are expected from that project.
Now a capital expenditures plan is being created. The down-time during the winter will be used to make repairs. Work in the locker rooms and painting are on the list. And, after the football and soccer seasons come to an end, new turf will be installed. The Astroturf that is several years old will be replaced under warranty at no cost to Finley.
Chairman of the board Mike Davis asked the board members for suggestions for increasing revenue, especially during December through February when the stadium is used the least. There are two remaining home games for UTC - Furman on Nov. 2 and The Citadel on Nov. 16. CFC’s last game is this coming Saturday. New revenue could mean increasing income for reoccurring events or adding different kinds of events, said Mr. Davis.