“We have been really blessed and I think the Solano SBDC was the launchpad. We were almost ready to fold. I was taking money from my savings. Onna helped us to make sense of it all. The business experience she has brought to the table has been invaluable.”
They built their business on large venues and live entertainment. When the COVID pandemic forced venues to close, STLR Entertainment realized that in order to survive, they had to reinvent their entire business model.
Since its creation in 2015, Vallejo’s STLR Entertainment has been a pivotal resource for musicians, bands and other artists in Solano County and the Bay Area. Owner Theris Coats and his three partners operate STLR as an ‘artist cooperative’, providing entertainment to large and small venues, colleges and clubs while encouraging artists to promote and collaborate with one another.
It was a successful and growing model for five years – and then it all stopped. COVID-19 forced venues to close and cancel all events. STLR Entertainment realized that for their business to survive, they had to reinvent their entire business model.
The pandemic ultimately opened avenues to Coats and his team they never thought to explore.
He reached out to the Solano SBDC and was paired with advisor Onna Young. With her guidance, STLR pivoted from a “Business to Business” model to “Business to Consumer.” They worked with artists in their co-op and a local performing arts school to record a live performance for streaming platforms.
His advisor helped him to apply for a Rebuild Solano’s Small Businesses Grant and the funding he received was used to pay for the recording and hire a videographer and sound technician. The concert, ‘Andre Thierry and his Accordion Soul Music,’ is now available on Vimeo.
Through the local Rebuild Solano’s Small Businesses Grant, Coates was introduced to the Workforce Development Board of Solano County, which connected him to the Facebook Project. He had a paid Facebook-trained intern over the summer and STLR Entertainment saw their social media numbers triple.
Coats also received a $5,000 California Relief Grant and he used those funds to market the virtual concert and re-build STLR Entertainment’s business and financial model.
Coats continues to work with his advisor, Onna Young, and pivot his business to digital. STLR Entertainment is planning its second virtual concert and Coats said his artists are excited to participate.
Meanwhile, their work with the Facebook Project was so successful that the company provided them with an additional $2,500 in ad credits for the platform. They plan to use those funds to market their new model and upcoming performances.