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Arizona Arts Center Meets Rapid Deadline with Hundreds of Thousands in Savings

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Success Story: Mesa Arts Center  


Your workday may feel like a 1,000-piece puzzle; imagine adding a timer to that puzzle. You’re under more pressure and may not give each piece the attention it needs because you don’t have the time. Procurement teams know what it’s like to frequently work down to the wire with tight deadlines and budgets. However, Mesa Arts Center’s Director of Production, Robby Elliott, saw an opportunity to avoid the stress of a short time frame to complete a large project through a cooperative purchasing strategy.

Elliott handles all things production for the Mesa Arts Center’s roughly 900 performances a year. He and his team unload all equipment, set up the show, make sure the performance runs smoothly and then load everything back onto the trucks. All of these responsibilities on top of needing to identify solutions for a major renovation made Elliott realize he needed to find a way to streamline and fast track the process. He was able to expedite much of the time-consuming steps by leveraging a cooperative purchasing organization.

Mesa Arts Center is Arizona's largest arts center and home to four theaters, five art galleries and 14 art studios. At the start of 2020, the arts center set out to refurbish the seating and flooring of two of their theaters, one with 1,600 seats and the other 550. In March 2020, the project was shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Once the project ramped up again in February of 2021, Elliott and his team aimed to finish by their reopening date of October 1, 2021, leaving them only 9 months to do the planning, bid, order, and installation. Although they had already decided to tackle this renovation quickly, cooperative purchasing is what made the faster pace possible.

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“Because of the OMNIA Partners contract we were able to work with our vendor, Irwin Seating Company, on completing the planning and order in 3 weeks’ time rather than the typical 2-3 months it would have normally taken,” says Elliott.


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Furniture, Installation and Related Services
Lead Public Agency: Region 4 ESC - TX
Contract Number: R191805
Contract Terms: May 1, 2020 to April 30, 2023 Option to renew for two (2) additional one-year periods through April 30, 2025

“We are all too busy to needlessly put out RFPs and we are also way too busy to shortchange ourselves trying to avoid the RFP process,” says Elliott. “OMNIA Partners allows me to spend less time on the purchasing bureaucracy and more time elsewhere. "


Elliott and his team wanted to source the auditorium seating for the project from an organization that holds a high standard for comfort, maintenance, and lasting durability in its products, while also maintaining the flexibility to have the seating resemble the original architecture. He saw all of these traits within the Irwin Seating Company contract and felt confident in their work. The fact Irwin’s products are manufactured domestically, and not shipped from overseas, also helped the Center meet a tight timeline.

In the beginning, Elliott's team believed simply reupholstering the existing auditorium seats would outweigh the cost of installing new ones, but quickly learned that was not the case. Elliott says he estimates they saved roughly $200,000 by choosing to replace the seats through Irwin Seating Company rather than reupholstering the existing ones.

Robby Elliott

Using OMNIA Partners allowed us to bypass the normal competitive RFP process that our purchasing department typically requires,” says Elliott. “Knowing that Irwin had already competitively bid on the contract saved us from having to hire a consultant to create a scope of work and chair designs that various chair companies could bid on. That process would have easily taken a year, and OMNIA Partners allowed us to narrow down our chair selection to 2-3 weeks. Quite frankly, without Irwin Seating Company and OMNIA Partners, this project would not have happened, and we would be planning for the project to take place 2-3 years from now just to allow for timing.

-Robby Elliott, Mesa Arts Center’s Director of Production

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Immediate Access to Cost-Effective & Strategic Solutions

Cooperative purchasing allowed the Mesa Arts Center to complete their project in a streamlined, cost-and time-efficient way without needing to hire an outside consultant or be delayed by the RFP process. As a known best practice for government agencies, school districts, and non-profits nationwide, OMNIA Partners' cooperative portfolio of industry-leading suppliers provides you with immediate access to hundreds of vetted cooperative contracts in every category, serving as your long-term, full-service solution. That's exactly what Elliott had been searching for, a partner that will support their ongoing projects for years and not just for the one installation.


“We are all too busy to needlessly put out RFPs and we are also way too busy to shortchange ourselves trying to avoid the RFP process,” says Elliott. “OMNIA Partners allows me to spend less time on the purchasing bureaucracy and more time elsewhere. "


About Irwin Seating Company 

Irwin Seating Company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of audience seating for movie theatres, auditoriums, arenas, performing arts centers, stadiums, and places of worship. Our chairs, bleachers, and telescopic platforms are installed in thousands of venues all over the world. Seating is our only business, and public seating products are the only products we manufacture. In addition to auditorium and theatre seating, we manufacture stadium seating, lecture room furniture, bleachers, telescopic platforms and provide the industry's most comprehensive restoration services.

About OMNIA Partners 

OMNIA Partners is the largest and most experienced organization in procurement and supply chain management. Covering both the private and public sectors, OMNIA Partners unites industry-leading buying power and world-class suppliers to offer an extensive portfolio of sourcing solutions and partnerships. Learn more about the contracting process here.

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