Business View Magazine | May/June 2022

107 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE VOLUME 9, ISSUE 5 The Expo Center played host to events that were canceled in other parts of Texas, too. In July of 2020, they welcomed 1500 head of steers as a result of the cancellation of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo in 2020. They also hosted another large steer show in February 2021 as a result of the cancellation of the Ft. Worth Stock and Rodeo Show, among others. “We’ve been really fortunate that we were able to continue to have horse shows, livestock shows, and rodeos,” Johnson says. “We did hold our West Texas Fair and Rodeo in 2020, and we lost money that year at the fair due to fewer people. But we had so many parents sticking their heads in our office doors, thanking us for allowing their children to be normal. So, even though we took a pretty good loss, we know we did the right thing for our community.” The fair in 2021 exceeded all records. Things are getting back to normal now and the Expo Center’s calendar is full – with rodeos, dog shows, local graduations, and fairs. They are a full-service venue site, too, and can accommodate just about any special function in their versatile, and numerous, facilities. Visitors can also stay on the grounds at the Expo Center. The bond allowed for renovations to create 500 RV spaces. Johnson acknowledges, “We actually had that many before, but now we have them in very well defined and beautiful spaces.” Johnson’s ideas continue to churn. She hopes to use the Coliseum (now dirt free) to grow their concert business. That building was updated, too, as part of the recent renovations. She shares, “I’d like to bring back concerts and provide entertainment for our community. The Coliseum was really built for concerts and you’ll hear people that have lived here all their lives talk about the heyday of concerts in the ‘70s and ‘80s. We got away from it because we put dirt in there.” The folks in Taylor County were right all along. The Expo Center has been good for the community. Really good, in fact. The property is a hub of activity, bringing in over 350,000 visitors each year. The economic impact has been tremendous. Before the recent additions, an economic impact study indicated that the Expo Center drove $20 million dollars into the Abilene area on a yearly basis. Johnson believes that now, with all of the new buildings and renovations, it’s more like $30 million dollars. She adds, “We feel very fortunate that we have a community that understands the value of the Expo Center.” EXPO CENTER OF TAYLOR COUNTY 545 N. Upper Broadway Suite 1000, Corpus Christi, TX 78401