Shipping container will serve as bar for downtown concerts
By JEFF BAHR
Jun. 10, 2018
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — A shipping container that has ridden the high seas and rails and roadways of America has landed in downtown Grand Island.
Actually, going by its appearance, it looks like it washed ashore. But the appearance is deceiving.
The Grand Island Independent reports that organizers of Hear Grand Island plan to make the former container a key part of the weekly summer concerts downtown.
Beer, pop and popcorn will be sold out of the 20-foot container, which will be Hear Grand Island's main bar. Workers will stand inside the unit.
This past week, a team assembled by Happy Brush owner Peggy Bowen applied its creativity to make the container look like a distressed beach shack. The exterior includes paintings of surfboards.
Brent Lindner, one of Hear Grand Island's organizers, said Bowen did an "awesome" job with the container.
She turned "this big lump of metal" that was an eyesore "into something really fun."
Lindner believes the colorful bar "will enhance the experience of the Hear Grand Island concertgoers."
This summer's series was scheduled to begin Friday night, but was called off due to weather.
The new bar will make its debut Friday. The free concerts run through Aug. 10 in Railside Plaza.
Hear Grand Island bought the unit from Mammoth Containers in Fremont. The company is "super nice" to deal with, Lindner said. "They deliver within 150 miles, so it worked out good."
Like all shipping containers, this one has done some traveling. "It was property of Kawasaki at one time," Lindner said.
Amos Anson suggested the idea of using a shipping container for the bar. Lindner responded, "Man, that sounds really cool. Do you think we could pull it off?
"So we started looking into it, and I said, 'Let's do it,'" Lindner said.
The project was a team effort.
"Jerry's Sheet Metal donated an air conditioner for it," Lindner said. Middleton Electric installed power, and Coca-Cola donated some coolers. Famos Construction also helped.
As far as the appearance of the container, "We weren't sure what we were going to do with it. And Jackie said, 'I've got an idea.'" Lindner said.
"I said I would buy materials" and Bowen said, "I'll take it from there."
Bowen did much of the painting, but Lindner provided some help. "He had some extra hands and I provided a few extra hands," she said.
The workers power-washed the unit on Tuesday, primed it on Wednesday and the decorative painting was done Thursday, she said.
The back of the container is designed to look like a stage, so that people can take selfies in front of it. Bowen and her friends painted pictures of amps, speakers and stage lights, along with the words "Hear Grand Island." Lindner plans to bring in a real mike stand and possibly a drum set and guitars.
Painted on the front of the unit is the Friday night schedule: The Eagle Beverage Garden opens at 5 p.m., followed by a DJ from 6 to 7 p.m. and bands from 7 to 10 p.m. A dance party runs from 10 to 11 p.m.
Beverage sales are important to the success of Hear Grand Island.
"I encourage people to come out and have a cold soda or a cold beer, because that helps pay for it all," Lindner said.
The unit will allow organizers to save money on ice. That money can be used to get better entertainment and add other fun features, Lindner said.
The container will also be used for storage.
When this summer's series is over, the shipping unit will be available for rental. Proceeds will go back into Hear Grand Island.
If things go well, organizers will buy a 40-foot container next year and turn that into a seating area, Lindner said. He envisions stretching an awning between the two to create a covered area.
Information from: The Grand Island Independent, http://www.theindependent.com