SAN ANTONIO — After sitting in the shadow of the historic Alamo church for 76 years, the Alamo Gift Shop will finally be getting some long-awaited attention of its own. On October 1, for the first time in history, a private company will begin operating the gift shop for the Cradle of Texas Liberty under a contract with the Texas General Land Office. Event Network, a premier retail operator for cultural attractions nationwide, will assume operations and begin the process of transforming the venue into a vital part of the visitor experience.
"For years, the gift shop was just a place to buy a souvenir of your visit to the Alamo," said Jerry Patterson, Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office. "Now, for thousands of visitors, the Alamo Gift Shop will be a part of that special visit. It is an exciting change and one that will not only maintain the reverence of this iconic mission, but help ensure its future."
The Alamo relies almost entirely on revenue from the gift shop for continued operation. For their last fiscal year, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas - who managed the gift shop since its inception in the 1930's - earned $4.6 million in gross sales.
Event Network is no stranger in transforming reverence into revenue with impressive track record partnering with historic locations, iconic destinations and national treasures across the country including Gettysburg National Military Park and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum.
"The Alamo is a shrine unlike any other in the world," said Jerry Gilbert, Event Network Vice President of Marketing, "and our mission is to deliver a retail experience that continues to be worthy of such a place. We hope it will become a seamless extension of the visitor experience."
Often mistaken as part of the original Alamo compound, the building housing the Alamo Gift Shop was built in 1937 as one of nine Texas Centennial Museums honoring the hundredth anniversary of Texas independence. Dedicated in 1938 the Alamo Museum held historic artifacts until the DRT decided to also use the space to sell souvenirs in order to raise money for care of the mission.
"The Alamo Museum was dedicated 76 years ago this month," said Gilbert, "and we are grateful to have the opportunity to continue to use this building to educate our customers about the history of the Alamo. We have made historical integrity a centerpiece to our philosophy for the Alamo Gift Shop."
Event Network intends to honor the original intent of the building by incorporating historic artifacts from the Alamo collection as part of the store design. The redesign is underway with completion after the first of the year and will not alter the original historic building or architecture.
"We are working with the Land Office and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas to complete a thorough transition process that will include a substantial store renovation this coming winter," said Gilbert. "Once remodeled, the Gift Museum will maintain its commitment to authenticity, both in its environment and its merchandise, and will be a dynamic, vibrant and comfortable place to shop. "
The Land Office and Event Network intend the Gift Shop to be a destination in itself, selling one-of-a-kind merchandise that you can find only at the Alamo. Prior to being awarded the contract, Event Network commissioned artist Stephen Fishwick to create a dramatic painting of the Alamo and Texas flag for use on exclusive merchandise.
"The re-imagined merchandise assortment at the Alamo Gift Shop will offer something for everyone," said Gilbert, "and will truly elevate The Alamo brand."
One thing that won't look different in the gift shop will be the staff. Event Network has hired most of the current staff to continue in the new gift shop.
"Continuity of personnel is important to us," said Gilbert. "These employees are dedicated and passionate about the Alamo and that enthusiasm is vital to our success."
For more information on the Alamo Gift Shop changes, please visit the Texas General Land Office website at glo.texas.gov or the Official Alamo website at thealamo.org