According to a report given to the Carmel City Council, the Carmel Christkindlmarkt brought in nearly $1.4 million in its first year in gross sales, serving about 150,000 people. The Ice at Center Green, an outdoor skating rink operated by the City of Carmel, brought in $218,347.
Marketmaster and CEO Maria Murphy outlined a plan for the nonprofit to become self-sufficient in the near future. In its first year, Carmel gave the nonprofit $420,000. Another $125,000 is budgeted for this year.
“Our goal is to be free of any city help, meaning a grant, in two or three years,” said Dan McFeely, president of the board for the Christkindlmarkt. “We still need some grants because we want to grow a bit.”
The market reported total revenue of $936,583 with total expenses of $645,628. Cash balances were $290,955 with a physical inventory worth $66,331 and total assets valued at $357,286.
Many changes are expected for the Christkindlmarkt this year. Murphy said she’s going to try to get sponsorships to help cover costs. New features and attractions are planned. The layout will be tweaked. Some new vendors will be added and others might not return. Quirky Feather Confectionary, which sold gluhwein, has gone out of business.
McFeely said there’s been an ongoing discussion about how many booths need to be run by the city, how many should be outside vendors traveling to Carmel and how many should be local vendors.
Some on the Carmel City Council asked for more details about the market’s finances. Councilwoman Sue Finkam praised the market staff for what it did, but she said a more comprehensive financial review is needed.
Nancy Heck, director of community relations and economic development for the City of Carmel, said The Ice was successful at providing a wintertime outdoor activity and bringing people to the area during a time of year when local retail and restaurant traffic is slower.
“The comment we heard the most was we created Hallmark memories for those who attended the inaugural Carmel Christkindlmarkt and Ice at Center Green,” she said. “I can tell you as an event planner there is no better feeling than creating moments such as those for people attending an event.”
Heck said some changes for this year will include closing at 9 p.m. throughout the season instead of extending the closing time on certain days. She also said after the market closes The Ice will only be open Thursday through Sunday. After the market closed, the top attendance day was Saturday Feb. 17 during the ice carving event and Carmel Fire Dept. chili cook off, with 469 skaters that day.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 12 local businesses directly participated in 2017
- 15,000 gluhwein mugs sold
- 14,125 hot chocolates sold
- 10,027 gingerbread cookies sold
- 10,477 waffles sold
- 9,571 raclette sandwiches sold
- 1,756 Carmel ornaments sold
- 227 nutcrackers sold
THE ICE AT CENTER GREEN
- 21,456 skaters from November to March
- 72 percent of skaters were adults and 28 percent were children
- An average of 316 skaters per day
- 68 days open and 19 days closed from Nov. 18 to March 11
- The busiest day was Dec. 16 with 1,012 skaters
- $156,516 in admission revenue
- $56,241 in skate rental revenue