After being around for 77 years the Fremont Theater has become a well-known name in San Luis Obispo. From its vintage outward appearance to the events it hosts, it is a location that brings people into the city. Its popularity has expanded even outside of the theater itself and has bled into the community.
The attention that the Fremont garners brings revenue into other areas in the city such as the restaurants, and the shops because people will come into SLO for a show and spend time in the surrounding area.
“Anytime you have something that brings people in and lets them see what you’re doing, and it’s in a positive way, it helps.”Frank Hayes, Box Office Manager
Some people even come from far away areas and need to stay overnight, so they’ll stay in the hotels. The Hotel Buena Vista is one of the places impacted by the Fremont, according to Brian Anthony, their front desk person.
“We’re a supporter of the SLO Comedy Festival. All of the comedians stay in our hotel, so during the festival, we send people down there to their Best of the West show, since that’s the one show they always have tickets for,” Anthony said.
The Fremont also has more explicit influences throughout SLO, such as their partnership with Boo Boo Records, the record store across the street from the venue. The shop sells tickets for the shows that the theater puts on.
The box office manager at the Fremont, Frank Hayes, is also a clerk at Boo Boo Records and talks about the partnership’s significance on the shop.
“It helps fill in little gaps of revenue here and there. Plus it’s a way to bring people into the store and check out the place,” said Hayes. “I think it’s a great impact. Anytime you have something that brings people in and lets them see what you’re doing, and it’s in a positive way, it helps.”
Not only does the theater benefit the city’s tourism, but the SLO art scene as well. The house manager for the Fremont pulls from local talent to open for bigger bands if they are lacking an opening act, says Anthony, which is another draw for locals to the venue.
“I like that the house manager there knows a lot of the local bands, so you’ll get to see some of the local bands you see out at the bars opening for a major band. It promotes the local entertainment, not just who you want to see,” Anthony said.
The theater’s notoriety alone as a landmark venue in the community is another push for the arts.
“I think it’s huge. Just by providing a place, an outlet, for music, for the arts, doesn’t matter what kind, you know [The Fremont]’s there.” said Hayes.
To hear more about the Fremont’s outside influence on the community, listen to the attached audio clip of Hayes.