HARRISBURG, Pa. — Gov. Tom Corbett cut the ribbon Monday officially welcoming Weis Markets as the newest sponsor of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg.
The complex entered into a $750,000 sponsorship agreement with Weis Markets for naming rights to the Expo Hall, the location of the famous Farm Show Food Court.
“The Farm Show Complex is a significant economic driver in Pennsylvania, bringing in more than $350 million to the regional economy each year,” Corbett said. “This new sponsorship means we can continue to operate the complex with minimal taxpayer dollars, in addition to increasing revenue and decreasing costs. We’re running it like a business.”
Over the past seven years, the facility’s revenue has risen 20 percent. Occupancy in major halls increased to 76 percent, up 72 percent from five years ago.
During the same time, expenses were cut more than $200,000 by decreasing energy costs and operating more efficiently.
“Agriculture is the heart of the Farm Show Complex’s function, but we’re working to make the complex Pennsylvania’s preferred multiuse facility for conventions, exhibitions and sporting events,” said Agriculture Secretary George Greig. “With this sponsorship, we’ll continue to increase complex utilization, ramp up marketing efforts and make capital improvements.”
Sunbury-based Weis Markets will provide $150,000 per year to the complex for the next five years. The market sells Pennsylvania products from more than 50 PA Preferred companies and 100 Pennsylvania farmers. PA Preferred is the state’s official branding program of agricultural commodities.
“The Farm Show Complex is a really good fit for us and a natural extension of who we are: a locally focused supermarket company that happens to be one of Pennsylvania’s best customers,” said David J. Hepfinger, Weis president and CEO.
As part of its sponsorship, Weis will sponsor the PA Preferred Culinary Connection, a mainstay of the Pennsylvania Farm Show, held each January. The culinary stage brings nationally renowned chefs together with local chefs and celebrities to craft dishes using PA Preferred products.
Other complex advertisers include Ford, Nationwide Insurance and Highmark. Together, the sponsorships bring in nearly $225,000 to the complex’s overall operating budget each year.
Weis contributed the more than 150 pounds of nonperishable PA Preferred food displayed at the event to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.
For more information about the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center, visit www.pafarmshowcomplex.com.