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  Thursday January 29th, 2015    

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Get carried away with GRSF (05/12/2014)
by Lee Gundersheimer and Doug Scholz-Carlson

Lee: Doug, what’s with the truck? You score a few things at the 100 Mile Garage Sale?

Doug: Nope. It’s almost time to move to Winona for the summer, so I just loaded up a few things to bring down.

Lee: A washing machine, a tandem bike and a box of swords? That’s what you’re bringing for the summer? What about your “Complete Works of Shakespeare”? What about your big dictionary?

Doug: Well, actually I’ll bring my own stuff next week when I move down from Minneapolis. This is all stuff for GRSF. We replaced our washing machine. The old one still works, so rather than throw it out, I’m giving the old washer to the costume shop.

Lee: They’ll love that. What about the tandem bike?

Doug: One of our patrons from Northfield — all right, it’s my parents — had an old tandem bike in their garage. They donated it to GRSF so our out-of-town company members can ride around the lake this summer.

Lee: Hey, I’ve got a bike I’m not using. Can I donate it to GRSF for the summer?

Doug: Absolutely. We have over 100 company members arriving in Winona from all over the country. A whole bunch of them would love a bike to get around this summer.

Lee: Now that you mention it, when the company first arrives in town, they stay either in the dorms at Winona State or they live with our patrons. Our new production manager, Joe Millet, is living in my house right now.

Doug: Thanks for housing him. As you know, it saves GRSF all kinds of money. This time next year, if anyone has a spare room, it’s another great way to support GRSF, and it’s a great way to get to know the company better.

Lee: Once the company moves into the Eastlake Apartments, I bet they could use a few things.

Doug: Yep. Kitchen supplies, pots and pans, dishes, sheets and towels that aren’t quite so institutional, lamps, cleaning supplies, you name it. They arrive with a suitcase and live out of that for the summer. GRSF can’t use everything, but if you are doing a little spring cleaning, drop us an email. It may be the stuff you are getting rid of would make a visiting theater artist a lot happier this summer.

Lee: You know the same is true at the office. We feel a real obligation to spend the money patrons donate wisely. We cut costs everywhere we can, and we’ve gotten quite good at reusing, repurposing and making do. Our office furniture was all donated, and frankly some of it is nearing the end of its life.

Doug: A two- to four-year-old computer or tablet is tough to sell, but I bet we can make use of it. As long as it is in good working condition. Donate it to GRSF and its even tax deductible.

Lee: You’re giving tax advice now?

Doug: The point is, we run a tight ship and think very economically. The community trusts us with donations, and we are committed to spending every penny of those gifts efficiently.

Lee: True. We even read about how Fastenal grew to be such a profitable company by keeping a close watch on its bottom line. Will Kitchen, our development director, keeps saying, when it comes to business decisions, “what would Fastenal do?”

Doug: We want to spend our money on the great theater artists and talented administrative and support staff that make our performances possible. If we can spend less on “stuff,” we are more able to keep GRSF affordable for everyone in the community. Our Great River League is full of businesses and local services that help with in-kind contributions, and we are always looking for new help. Office supplies, elegant fabrics, sewing supplies, building materials, new tools. Any business that wants to come aboard and join the league should contact Lee at leeg@grsf.org.

Lee: There are so many ways to help GRSF. I’m all about rolling up my sleeves and helping. You probably need some help unloading?

Doug: I thought you’d never ask. 


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