Food City Donates Building to Barter Theatre

Food City Donates Building to Barter Theatre

Food City President and Chief Executive Officer Steven C. Smith hands over the keys to the former Food City Corporate Support Center to Barter Theatre. At a special announcement today, Smith discusses the impact of tourism to the regional economy, and the impact Barter Theatre has made as reasons for the donation.

"Barter Theatre is an extraordinary institution that provides world class entertainment for our entire region, and also serves as a strong economic engine for both Abingdon and Washington County, VA. Food City is proud to be a long-time Barter sponsor, and to have the opportunity to donate the Trigg Street building and property to help perpetuate their financial stability for many years to come," says Smith.

Barter Theatre will use this 39,000 square foot building and 6-acre parcel, located at 201 Trigg Street in Abingdon, to move the costume shop, rehearsal halls, costume storage and sound studios during the renovation of Barter's Production Building. "This gift comes at a particularly beneficial time for Barter, as we will be able to utilize the building immediately as we renovate the 100-year-old production building," says Barter Theatre's Board of Trustees President Kyle Macione. "The generosity of Steve Smith and the Food City organization allows us to solve an immediate issue to which we had no convenient solution, and was going to cost Barter Theatre a substantial amount to solve."

Another immediate usage of the building will be as a home for Barter's Education Department, which has had to use locations throughout Abingdon. Barter Youth Academy, a performance-based educational program that allows students of all ages a chance to learn and develop their performance and storytelling skills, will unite their programs into one location. "This generous donation does meet many immediate needs, and it also gives us the opportunity to gain some long-term strategies and goals that would not have been possible," says Barter Theatre's Producing Artistic Director Richard Rose. "We are deeply honored at the tremendous support from Steve Smith and the Food City team. The commitment they have to enhance our community deserves our gratitude and respect."

The former Food City Corporate Support Center was originally purchased by Food City in 1989, and served the organization until the new state-of-the-art facility was constructed on the vacated site of Johnston Memorial Hospital in 2013. Since that time, the 201 Trigg Street building has had minimal use. "There is an interesting historical fact about this location regarding Barter," says Rose. "The original building on this site was a garment factory, built by the company that once occupied what is now our rehearsal halls at the Barter production building. They converted that theatre performance seating space into the flat floor we use today to rehearse. And today, years later, another corporate organization shows their dedication to our community."

About Barter Theatre

Barter Theatre, the nation's longest running professional theatre, is located in Abingdon, Virginia. The theatre opened in 1933 during the Great Depression. Founder Robert Porterfield offered patrons admission to the theatre by bartering food and livestock. Barter Theatre was designated as the state theatre of Virginia in 1946. It exists today as one of the last year-round professional resident repertory theaters remaining in the United States. Barter Theatre is funded in part by The Virginia Commission for the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts.

About Food City

Headquartered in Abingdon, Virginia, K-VA-T Food Stores (Food City's parent company) operates 133 retail outlets throughout southeast Kentucky, southwest Virginia, east Tennessee, Chattanooga and north Georgia.


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