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Ribbon cutting ceremony kickstarts the M-Shop’s anniversary activities

Ames+Chamber+of+Commerce+and+Maintenance+Shop+staff+stand+on+stage+at+the+ribbon+cutting+ceremony+on+March+19.
Liam Brennan
Ames Chamber of Commerce and Maintenance Shop staff stand on stage at the ribbon cutting ceremony on March 19.

In front of the Maintenance Shop’s historic stained glass windows, M-Shop co-director Allison Talyat stood with comically large scissors in hand, waiting to cut the bright red ribbon that waited in front of her.

On Tuesday, the Ames Chamber of Commerce joined M-Shop staff and alumni in a ribbon cutting ceremony, rededicating the M-Shop after 50 years of operation.  

Kenna Smith, the chamber’s event coordinator, said that ribbon cutting is a practice the city organization does only for its members on special occasions.

“It was important to hold another ribbon cutting ceremony there, not only [to] celebrate their membership, but also the M-Shop as a whole,” Smith said.

According to M-Shop staff, the ribbon cutting ceremony was the first official event celebrating the venue’s anniversary. In reality, the M-Shop has plans to continue celebrating the milestone throughout the year.

“There’s just been a lot of buzz around the M-Shop just because it’s the 50th anniversary,” Talyat said.

The buzz around the M-Shop’s bicentennial celebration has brought the attention of those around the state, with Iowa Public Radio and the ISU Alumni Association highlighting the venue, and those involved.

Staff said that boosted recognition has also brought increased interest from the university with new T-shirts and increased marketing.

But past all the buzz and excitement surrounding the milestone, those who work in the venue daily say that nothing much has changed.

“It’s really just the same operation,” Avery Abney, a M-shop sound technician and senior in construction engineering, said. ­

Jim Brockpahler, the M-Shop’s program coordinator, said that operations are normal but that he and his team are trying to balance both the past and present by booking local showcases along with legacy acts that celebrate the past glories of the venue.

“We’re working on hopefully to get some more of that kind of historical shows in… the fall,” Brockpahler said. “We’ve got some offers out now and hope they land.”

On Saturday, the M-Shop will continue its historic blues series with Grammy-nominated blues frontman John Primer.

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