Giggle Dam Dinner Theatre
Finalist: Business of the Year (11-30 Employees)
The Giggle Dam is a unique place full of unique people. The theatre/restaurant was opened in 2001 by two performers from the Maz & Me’s theatre that was a figure in Poco since 1988. Mark Friebe and his wife Sheila Sharma opened the doors of the Giggle Dam in the hopes that they could do what they loved, have a ‘normal’ life and be part of a community where they could raise their kids one day. Fast forward to 2017 and the Giggle Dam is alive and well. Part of the reason for this is that a number of years ago we adopted an ethic of ‘Community is Key’.
They have worked closely with the City of Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam to try and ensure a win, win at events like Canada Day celebrations, car shows, and Grand Prix cycling events. They do their best to support the many charitable foundations that ask us to donate tickets and have performed free at various events including the recent Terry Fox Hometown Run. In 2015, they created and hosted a fundraiser for the businesses that did not survive the fire next door to our building. As a performer and director of marketing and media for the theatre Brad has watched a very unique thing unfold since adopting a more community minded mindset. Sure, it is good marketing to be out and about, however there is something deeper that has happened on both sides. The more we step out into the community, the more we like to be there. Brad cannot say enough about my cast of musicians and performers that lend their time to events and causes without hesitation every time. They get it and truly exemplify the spirit of our business in spades. As for the owners, Mark & Sheila, well, it all starts with them. In life it’s rumored that certain stuff flows downstream, it’s that way with good stuff too as it all starts at the top.
The Giggle Dam Dinner Theatre prides themselves in supporting local events such as 2015 PoCo fire – fundraiser event, 2017 Terry Fox Run Entertainment, Coquitlam Canada Day 150 Celebration – Sponsor, Performers and Happy Vibe Humans! and Entertainment Sponsor – 2017 Poco Grand Prix
It’s not all silliness at The Giggle Dam. They recognize that doing our part beyond the stage and antics counts. This past summer Sheila Sharma was a panel member at the Chamber Women in Business event and was received very well. Sheila, despite her incredible talent both onstage and in running a unique business, is incredibly modest so I was very happy she agreed to attend. Mark and Brad, have personally performed at every Terry Fox Hometown run since 2003 singing ‘Never Give up on a Dream’. The Giggle Dam box office is very supportive of the many schools & preschools, registered and non-registered charities that ask for donations of theatre tickets to be used at silent auctions. They have also supported and performed for the Eagle Ridge Hospital foundation as well as support the I AM Someone anti-bullying campaign. they do their best to support all that ask and the list is quite long and ongoing. The bottom line is they try very hard not to say ‘No’ to anything and make every situation a WIN/Win. A perfect case in point is the PoCo Grand Prix Bike Race. This is a 5-year commitment by the city to host this event which happens on a Friday in mid-July. The Giggle Dam is right in the middle of the closed course which essentially means that due to the event we cannot get our customers in for a Friday show which means we are shut down for the evening. This is an issue as we only run shows Friday/Saturday at that time of year so essentially we just lost 1/8th of our July business. Not awesome, however, this event is needed by the city and also drops 8000 people into the downtown core of Poco. Instead of jumping up and down screaming we asked the city about the entertainment at Leigh Square and a deal was set up for us to use that area for Giggle Dam and Guest performances and for us to be the purveyors of happiness for the day. The result was incredibly successful and something they look forward to for 2018. This would not have happened if they didn’t have a community minded attitude and they are quite proud of how tasty the lemonade was that we made from our ‘lemons’. They always have their little hands into something and always do their best knowing they represent not just PoCo but the whole Tri-Cities area simply because our unique little theatre, like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, is the ONLY one.