Filling the Ark
At Dave's retirement they inherited a stable organization with a faithful audience, but their success was by no means assured--and immediately challenged. "The same year Dave retired, the economy tanked," James recalls. "The Ark had been through business cycles before, but nothing like this. But we hunkered down and weathered the storm amazingly well."
"We kept our prices down," Anya Siglin puts in. "We even lowered some prices."
"When the economy went south, the worst thing would be if people said the Ark changed," continues James. "But we didn't, and revenue was steady through the recession."
But the Ark did change--quietly. "We're consciously trying to bring in a younger audience," Anya Siglin says. For the venerable club, James adds, "younger" means people in their thirties and forties--a demographic less devoted to traditional folk music than the Baby Boomers who've formed the club's core audience since its founding. "Traditional music is great music, but it doesn't draw like it used to," says Anya Siglin. "But don't worry: we're not going to go heavy metal or reggae."