After a four-months hiatus the Duncan Showroom is reinventing itself.
That’s what Longevity John Falkner is saying as he readies a new location at 133 Station St. for a May 1 opening.
After being forced to close his old venue – the Duncan Garage Showroom – at the end of November, the impresario was given an opportunity to stage shows at the Travelodge Silver Bridge Inn.
But Falkner and the Silver Bridge parted company on Sunday, March 30 and now he’s moving up into the old Emerald Palace restaurant space in downtown Duncan.
"We were going to call it The Emerald Showroom but it seems there’s a place in Vancouver called the Emerald and they opened up a venue. So, it’ll be the Duncan Showroom."
He’s already got his opening date set.
"I start paying rent May 1 and every day is a potential day to make money so I want to be open as early as I can. We’re dealing, as always, with the City of Duncan inspector. You’ve got to make sure everything is up to par. I’m having a good time working with the City, though. They’ve been very helpful in making sure we can get up and running," Falkner said.
This new incarnation of the Showroom will offer something really different: daytime
"Because we have room for a cafÃ©, that is going to allow us to be able to make a living 16 hours a day as opposed to three hours a day," he laughed.
Falkner said he had an interesting time working with the folks at the Silver Bridge.
"That’s been a great teamwork thing and I’ve really enjoyed it. But, I need to be free-standing and there really is a need for an all-ages venue, not just for kids but as an alcohol-free zone."
The timing for the venture simply fell into place. A real estate friend suggested he consider the old Emerald Palace site just as Falkner was weighing plans for his future.
He’s excited to be moving back into the downtown core.
"This is even more downtown than across the tracks. There is a definite feel that is different. In this day and age it’s really nice to see a town revitalizing itself. And, of course there are the infamous Emerald Palace staircase which people over the years have always remembered. But, just look at it this way: it’s 24 steps to heaven," he said.
Does his return to downtown mean that the Valley will again see the 39 Days of July, a celebration of local entertainment that ran for five weeks at Charles Hoey Park? "We have a working committee right now and we’re making sure that all the things that can be corrected from last year will be tweaked. The 39 Days is a huge thing and with the Old Firehouse Winebar bringing in more entertainment and, with Just Jakes and various other places, downtown Duncan has the potential to become a happening place again," Falkner said.
Friends of the Showroom are organizing a fundraising campaign to put the new venue on a sound financial footing and help keep it there, he said.