ASM Global surpasses savings goal, decreases Sanford Center operating loss to $180,000 for 2022

One year after ASM Global took over management of the Sanford Center, General Manager Sheila Murphy gave an annual report celebrating the company's successes.

Sanford Center winter.jpg
The Sanford Center is located at 1111 Event Center Drive NE in Bemidji.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI — Almost exactly a year after ASM Global took over management of the Sanford Center from VenuWorks last March, Sheila Murphy, the center’s general manager, gave an annual report to the Bemidji City Council on Monday.

“There’s been many changes in this past year of transition. It was a long nine months,” Murphy said. “We made it through, and we made it through stronger than ever.”

The biggest news of the report was the improvement of the center’s financial situation, which was a prominent part of ASM Global’s promises when it took over.

Under VenuWorks, the Sanford Center saw average operating losses of over $300,000 a year which fell on the city to cover.

ASM Global promised to reduce operating losses to $190,000 in its first full year, $6,000 in its second year and anticipated a profit in the third.


Murphy was able to report to the council that the Sanford Center had surpassed these goals, and in less than a year the operating losses were already below $180,000.

“We are at a loss of just under $180,000, (and) this does include the first three months (of the year under VenuWorks),” Murphy said of 2022.

In total, the operating loss for 2022 amounted to $179,949, well under the projection for the year.

“The big thing is we’re running this as a business,” Murphy explained. “We want the Sanford Center to be a success.”

The report included an overview of the events held at the Sanford Center over the past year, and the profits brought in by each, ranging from $13,194 from the Disney Junior show originally booked by VenuWorks to $82,910 from ASM Global’s booking of country artist Brantley Gilbert in September.

It also included ASM Global’s first sold-out show for comedian Charlie Berens in November, which brought the center $60,691 in profits.

“Those are the numbers we want to be seeing,” Murphy said.

Alongside these events bringing in big outside names, Murphy highlighted home-grown successes like the Anishinaabe Art Festival last summer that helped develop a sense of community connection to the facility.


As for what’s next for the Sanford Center, Murphy outlined the work she anticipates for the building. This includes rebranding many of the concession stands, updating catering menus, holding more outdoor events and attracting more conferences.

Throughout the report, Murphy highlighted the hard work and commitment of her team, who were present in the chambers with her.

“We did it in 2022, (and) it was because of this group right here. I’m blessed to be a part of this team,” Murphy said. “Next year we’re going to make it even better.”

The report was met favorably by the council, who thanked Murphy and the center’s employees for their effort through a difficult year of transition.

“We got a very good company with ASM Global,” said Ward 3 Councilor Ron Johnson. “I just want to thank the staff that trusted the process.”

Nicole Ronchetti is a reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer, focusing on local government and community health.
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