For the past couple of years, Public Storage has served as a go-to storage solution to the Bunce Performing Arts, a nonprofit organization striving to bring affordable arts to youth in the suburbs of the Twin Cities.
Lori and Greg Bunce began putting on free backyard community theater productions with the help of neighborhood children. But after a couple of years, the Bunce’s could no longer store all the production materials in their home.
“We needed some climate controlled storage because the basement in our house had filled up,” said Greg Bunce with a chuckle. “We needed to get it out of our house for our sanity.”
Our Orange Doors provides the Bunce family with a 10x20 unit to store critical materials during the off-season – while giving them space at home.
With more than 2,500 locations, our friendly staff can find storage solutions for everyone, from nonprofits to small business owners, just as we have done for our customers across the country for nearly 50 years.
And with dozens of facilities across the Twin Cities Metro and hundreds of unit options, there’s a space just right for every need, says Regional Manager Ryan Nelson.
“We love working with local organizations helping them find the right size and location,” he said. “As their needs change, we can help them flex by transferring their rental into a different space that is exactly what they’re looking for!”
Starting Backyard Productions
For the past 14 years, the Bunce family has poured their hearts into offering summer theater camps as a way to provide a more affordable option for youth in the Twin Cities area.
The Bunces, who met doing community theater, decided to start what was then known as Bunce Backyard Productions to also perform with their children.
“We thought, given our background, we could do something in our backyard and invite the neighborhood kids,” Greg Bunce said.
Their first production in their backyard, Oliver the Musical, featured a cast of 20, including kids, and they put on shows on a stage built in the backyard.
The free musical drew 250 people, and the neighborhood loved it, Bunce said, adding they were encouraged to keep it going the following summer.
Like any community theater, everyone lends a hand in helping build the production stage, Bunce said.
“When we first started, we footed the bill for all of the expenses, but when it got over $6,000 to do a show, we couldn’t handle it anymore. That’s when we become a nonprofit,” Bunce said.
Now they average 5,000 people over seven shows each summer. It has also since grown to include a nine-member board of directors.
And as they have done since the start, they ask attendees to bring in nonperishable items. Annually, they donate between 1,000 and 1,500 pounds of food.
Oh, and their productions got too big for their backyard, so they moved into a larger backyard owned by one of their board members.
That’s not all. The couple also produces BEAT, which stands for Bunce Educational Action Theater in cooperation with local public schools that don’t have an arts program. The afterschool program exposes them to the arts; it helps children develop self-esteem and learn about working with others.
As they strive to expand affordable arts to youth, Greg knows he’ll continue to look to Public Storage for help.
“We still probably need more storage. I’m walking around our basement, of we could probably expand again,” he said.
We’re proud to be serving customers who are impacting their communities just as much as the Bunce Performing Arts loves serving their community.
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Main image courtesy of Kristin Jones, Any Angle Photography