OC Fair & Event Center Board Approves Issuance of RFP for Swap Meet Operations With Commitment to Protect Current Vendors

Sep 23, 2011, 17:53 ET from OC Fair & Event Center

COSTA MESA, Calif., Sept. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At September's board meeting of the 32nd DAA (dba OC Fair & Event Center (OCFEC)), the Board of Directors approved termination of the lease with Tel Phil Enterprises, operator of the outdoor OC Market Place at OCFEC, and directed staff to immediately conduct a request for proposal (RFP) to contract with a swap meet operator upon the expiration of the current lease with Tel Phil.  The RFP will be publicly available on or about November 1, 2011 and will reflect an intended award date before December 31, 2011. The Board further directed staff to report on initiatives to replace any revenues which may be lost by terminating the current swap meet lease at its next Board meeting.

"The Board's message was clear today; alongside growing revenues for the advancement of the property for the benefit of the community we serve, the highest priority is to protect and preserve the business interests of the over 900 merchants that are part of the swap meet. The Board's level of commitment to the vendors is evident by a motion to include specific language in the RFP that will ensure certain protections for the current vendors," stated immediate past Fair Board Chairman David Ellis.

By a 6 to 3 vote, the Board triggered Section 4 of the Second Amendment of the Lease with Tel Phil which allows either Tel Phil or OCFEC to end the relationship without cause.  In light of the Board's vote, Tel Phil will cease to be the operator of the swap meet effective March 2013.

The decision to terminate the relationship was based on data derived from contractually required weekly information provided by Tel Phil, which showed a sustained, systemic decline in swap meet revenue over the past 10 years while revenue generated by the fairgrounds has increased. The analysis reviewed by the Board during the meeting is available online here.

"Despite efforts over the past four years to work with Tel Phil to turn the business around including an annual minimum rent performance reduction of $1.5 million (43 percent) in 2009, revenues have continued to decline. Tel Phil's role in the growth of the Fairgrounds is legendary. But, like many legends, they have not adapted to changes in the market. Their business model has not adjusted to the rapid growth of the internet, big box retail and discount stores. The Board of Directors feels it is time to look forward to bringing on a swap meet operator under new contract terms to maximize revenue to support our community-based programs, fund the master plan and support an annual Fair that has become one of the top 10 in the United States. Tel Phil is a long-standing vendor of the OCFEC and we welcome them to submit a bid under the new RFP," stated Ellis.

"The Board simply looked at the numbers of a decade-long slide in revenue and made a business decision," concluded Ellis.

The OC Fair & Event Center is located off the 405 and 55 freeways at 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa. For more information, please visit ocfair.com, become a fan on Facebook.com/OCFair, follow us at twitter.com/ocfair or call (714) 708-1500.

SOURCE OC Fair & Event Center