Dozens of Canterbury Park shareholders gathered Wednesday in a banquet hall overlooking the racetrack to discuss Canterbury Park's finances.

Canterbury CEO Randy Sampson said Canterbury was prepared to take a hit this year, considering the construction of the card casino and renovations of several restaurants and buildings in and around the park. But not this much of a hit.

In the first quarter of this year, Canterbury’s net revenue was at $11.5 million — down from last year’s $12.2 million.

“It’s obviously disappointing to see that our revenue is down by more than 5 percent,” Sampson said.

Canterbury’s quarterly net income is at $57,000, compared to $990,000 last year.

Several factors played into Canterbury’s revenue drop besides renovations, Sampson said. Last year, Canterbury entered a contract to store Hyundai cars (official Super Bowl vehicle), which boosted the Canterbury’s February 2018 revenue, allowing more margin for a decrease in 2019.

But Canterbury was dealt a bad hand for weather this year.

“We’ve had a terrible quarter as far as weather,” Sampson said. “Half of February was below zero and the other half was full of snow.”

However, last year was a record year for the company in both revenue, at $59 million, and net income, $5.7 million, spokesman Jeff Maday said.

In the last five years, Canterbury’s total net revenue has increased by $10.7 million, or 22 percent. The park has turned a profit in 22 of the past 23 years.

Sampson expects Canterbury’s short-term revenue drop will lead to overall growth as Canterbury Commons — which will feature retail stores, apartments, townhomes, a hotel, an office building, and a Wisconsin Dells-like waterpark — comes to fruition near the track.

Maddie DeBilzan graduated with a journalism degree from Bethel University. She’s interned at Salon Media and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Outside of work, she sifts through Goodwill clothing racks, listens to Ben Rector's music and goes on long runs.

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