By K.D. Michaels, Staff Writer
Terry Bowling is well known in the Branson area,
Terry has been serving the Branson tourism industry since 1997, offering a shuttle service to get visitors to and from their shows, as well as providing tickets to Branson area shows and attractions at very affordable prices.
Terry and his wife, Vienna, worked side-by-side operating Terry's Discount Tickets until she passed away two years ago, following a hard-fought battle with cancer. At that time, Terry, who had been married more than 30 years, considered retiring, but made the decision to keep his company in operation—a decision that has definitely worked in his favor.
Last May, while trying to secure tickets to a local show for a customer, Terry walked into a venue on what was to be the show's final Branson performance, and only minutes before the box office closed for good. It was there that Terry met beautiful tourism professional Barbara Milhem. Barbara recognized Terry as a local businessman, and the two began to chat. The attraction was instant, and Barbara introduced Terry to her staff, joking "This is my new boyfriend" minutes later.
"That day he asked me out, and he cooked homemade pizza with shrimp alfredo, and we never parted," noted Barbara. "Last month, we were at our home in Corpus Christi for the winter, and we had driven out to the beach. I got out and walked to the water. I turned around and he was on one knee. He says it took 14 seconds for us to fall in love, so now the inscription in our rings will read '14 Seconds to Forever.' You're a very blessed person if you find true love once in your life, but God has given us each a second chance to find happiness."
Barbara and Terry now work together operating Terry's Discount Tickets in their new office building on Branson Landing Boulevard, and Terry's already popular business is bigger and better than ever.
"Two of my daughters have moved to Branson to work with us," said Barbara. "Terry has been so open to us doing so much more with what we have, so we have gone to the theaters in town and explained how we want to do a lot more for veterans, military, first responders, seniors, church groups and families, and many have been on board. With the discounts they have given us, we will be able to pay things forward and give free tickets on many shows to Gold Star families, foster families and those who have larger families who might now be able to afford to bring them to Branson, so we can instill in them a love for Branson and our shows, along with the talented folks who keep millions of people coming each year. We want to build on our Branson for the next generations, so that long after most of us are gone, people can enjoy the legacy that has been left behind by what our Bransonites have done."
Barbara continued, "What I loved so much about Terry, when we met, was how much all the theaters and hotels loved him and respected him. When he sold his shuttle bus company, the theaters kept giving him rates that he could pass on. He has cultivated so many positive relationships with customers that come back year after year. That ultimately led to us needing to get an office, since folks were coming to our home, looking to buy tickets. This past year, we did almost a million dollars in ticket sales, with the help of my daughters Kaiti and Brooke, and now with an office where folks can come in and say “Hi” and not be bothered by any timeshares, or need to worry about anyone scamming them, I expect this to be a banner year!"
Terry's Discount Tickets' new office is located at 695 Branson Landing Boulevard, Suite 210, next to Rapid Roberts.
"We are open Monday through Saturday; however, we are available by phone on Sundays", said Barbara. "Our phone numbers are 417-332-0352 and 417-332-0353. Our after-hours number is 417-331-2582. For the most part, we do Will-Call for our guests to make it easy for them, but Terry will still pick up and deliver tickets by request."
Terry recently purchased a 1954 Dodge Coronet, so you might see him delivering tickets in style this season.
"I think what sets us apart from other companies, including those with a similar pricing structure, is the customer service we provide, along with a willingness to go above and beyond to give the guests the best experience possible, and it shows by the repeat customers each year," noted Barbara. "Terry has come a long way from a shuttle bus to having one of the largest, non-timeshare/vacation package ticket companies in town!"