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Born in Cleveland, Mark Minnick first came to Fort Wayne in 1972 to attend college. Always motivated by an entrepreneurial spirit, Minnick had already gotten his real estate broker’s license by 1974, ambitious for a young man still in college but also risky since 1974 was not a good year for the country’s economy.
He eventually started his own business, which has since blossomed into Minnick Services, a number of companies under one umbrella.
But Minnick is best known to the arts community in Fort Wayne through his work at C2G Music Hall. His route to that is unique.
“A mentor of mine asked if I was still interested in a ministry,” Minnick said. “I was, so I went to seminary in Chicago for four years. When I was done with that in 2000, I went on to receive a master’s in divinity degree. The typical pattern after you’ve done all of that is they’ll tell you where you’ll go to serve, but I said, ‘I’ll think about that and get back to you.’”
He began looking for a space and came upon an empty hall which had just gone on the market that day. The building, located on Baker Street, became Come 2 Go Ministries.
The place became popular for its focus on music and fellowship rather than services. But it was when one of Minnick’s friends, Brad Etter, suggested a performer that everything came into focus.
“Brad said that Richie Havens was playing at the Ark in Ann Arbor,” Minnick said. “He said we should call his agent and see if maybe Richie could come down here while he was in the area. As arrangements were being made and papers were being drawn up, we told them that the name of the venue was Come 2 Go Ministries, and we were told, ‘Richie don’t play no churches.’ So we said, ‘No, no, it’s actually C2G Music Hall.’”
The Havens show was a huge success, and since that time C2G has become a place for music that didn’t have an obvious home in the area. It also became a place for families to enjoy music together since it was among the first to allow all-ages audiences outside of venues like the Memorial Coliseum and the Embassy.
C2G has hosted a diverse roster of musical acts, particularly blues performers who might not otherwise have found a place to play in the city.
Now a well-established hot spot for music in Fort Wayne, Minnick is ready to hand the reins to a new generation.
“I’m 67, and it’s time for some other people to take over,” he said. “I’m ready to pass the baton, but it has to be someone with a passion for it. We have a lot of great volunteers and several organizational components. But the time is ripe for some younger people to step in and bring their passion to it.”