by Gregg Adams
Real estate professional Scott Morrill never found the meaning he had hoped for in his chosen field, at least not the exhilaration he got from live music. With confidence and a disdain for caution, he took out a second mortgage on his home and went all in to create Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom, a successful and well-known music venue in Denver.
Morrill is once again embracing risk by acquiring Fort Collins’ premier concert venue, The Aggie Theatre. Since it opened in the early 2000’s, the “Aggie” has presented top-notch national acts, and featured hundreds of up-and-coming local artists. Despite its status, the Aggie has had its share of issues—liquor license violations, perceptions of an overly aggressive security staff, and a less than aesthetically pleasing concert experience.
Morrill is aware of these perceptions, and is not averse to changing the model.
“There’s a lot of unknowns,” Morrill said. “Anything could happen, but we’ll start out by putting a new sound system in to revamp the sound, and we plan to clean it up to improve the customer experience.”
However, Morrill hopes to keep the positive aspects of the venue’s character intact.
“I like the name and want to keep the history of the venue,” he said.
Having booked and promoted many shows at the Aggie in conjunction with former owner Scoo Leary, Morrill is familiar both with the challenges he faces and the opportunity to utilize the established brand name. He hopes to expand on this solid base by using the Cervantes business model.
“We run a very tight operation at Cervantes from marketing and PR, to inventory and security,” Morrill said. “The model has been proven. It works.”
Morrill understands the ongoing challenges of operating a popular music venue in a college town. To maximize his potential for success, he plans to engage in a wide dialogue with the community.
“We plan to meet with the Fort Collins Police and community leaders and share the fact that we understand the challenges of running a music venue in a college town, as well as how we plan to mitigate any previous concerns,” Morrill said. “We have a professional staff that understands the importance of treating our customers with the respect they deserve, and that will be evident from the outset.”
Having a well-orchestrated approach to what he hopes will be a successful transition; Morrill is excited about this opportunity to expand his presence into the Fort Collins market.
“I think Fort Collins has been progressing as a town and a community for a long time, and will continue to do so. The music scene in Colorado is the best in the country and Ft. Collins is an important part of that,” Morrill wrote in a follow-up email. “Scoo has done a great job at providing top notch shows for many years, and I look forward to continuing in this tradition. I’m looking forward to making the Aggie the best it can be!