Dr Pepper Museum weathers COVID-19 storm with help of grants

Published: Nov. 4, 2020 at 4:21 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) – Waco’s Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute says dealing with the effects of COVID-19 has been tough, but it’s doing well thanks to a couple of grants and it’s on track to see 100,000 visitors by the end of the year.

“It’s been stressful,” said CEO Chris Dyer.

“But we’ve pivoted and we’ve been fortunate.”

The number of guests is down from 170,000 during a typical year.

Dyer says the museum was on par to hit that number before COVID-19 forced the nonprofit to close in the second week of March, which is normally one of the busiest times of the year because of spring break.

“We missed spring break and that’s one of our big times,” he said. “That has impacted us.”

The museum was able to reopen in early May, but took a hit from travel restrictions during the normally busy summer travel season, which led to the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue.

But two grants were awarded that helped carry the museum through a tough time.

The Summerlee Foundation awarded the museum a large grant.

City Center Waco also awarded a grant to the Dr Pepper Museum as part of its facade grant program.

"We utilized the funds to do the work on the facade of the building. We redid the Mary Street side and added a new dock, a cupola on the side and some masonry work. "

The work on the facade should be finished this week.

Dyer says the worldwide tourist destination is preparing to turn 30 next year and hopes that when it does, things will be much closer to normal.

“We’ve done well and we’ll be 30 in 2021 so we have experience and endowments and things that we haven’t have to pull from,” he said.

“We are very fortunate.”

The Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute is this week’s TFNB Your Bank For Life Charity Champion.

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