Topic: former Mallview Cinemas reopen in Waterbury, CT
From: Thomaston, CT
Registered: Feb 2003
posted April 23, 2012 04:48 AM
The former Mallview Cinemas are reopening as the Creative Cinemas 10.
Article from the Waterbury Republican-American :
Young entrepreneurs from Montana to reopen Waterbury cinema in May
If this were a limerick, the opening line would be: There once were 2 guys from Montana...
But it's not a limerick. Instead it's the true story of two 20-something guys from Montana whose dream of owning their own movie theater led them to Waterbury and a longtime landmark off Wolcott Street that they hope to reopen as an independent movie house on May 11.
"The building was listed on this online site we used to check out just about every day, and it looked perfect," said Joshua E. Evans, 27, one of the two partners who will be opening the former Holiday Cinema in the Mallview Plaza on Sharon Road under their own Creative Cinemas banner next month. "We fell in love with the place from about 3,000 miles away."
The Mallview Plaza overlooks the Naugatuck Valley Shopping Center on Wolcott Street which contains both a Wal-Mart outlet and Super Stop & Shop.
EVANS, A NATIVE of Fresno, Calif., was living and working as the assistant manager at a Zone Family Fun Center in Kalispell, Mont., when he met his future partner, Shane K. Smith, 22, a year or so ago. Evans describes the fun center as a large pizzeria equipped with a bumper car track, laser tag arena and video game arcade.
As things turned out, Evan and Smith shared a few important traits in common, aside from the fact that both were young, ambitious, small-town guys living and working in Montana.
Movies, for instance. Both of them not only loved the films themselves, but they also loved the experience of going to movies.
Smith, who was the assistant manager of a small cinema in Kalispell at the time, says it didn't take long for the two friends to realize that they both shared a common dream: owning and running their own movie theater. So they formed a rough business plan, pooled their life savings and began scouring the Internet, searching for a theater that was on the market and within their price range.
They found two.
The first theater they looked into acquiring was a 42,000-square-foot, 8-screen operation in Fenton, Mich.
"We checked that one out pretty thoroughly last winter, but we could never get the financing to make sense," Evans recalls.
The second available theater was the former Holiday Cinema, which had been vacant since December 2010.
The theater has 10 screens, 1,900 seats and occupies a 35,000-square-foot building. It also comes equipped with a Dolby digital sound system and sloped-floor seating.
The two partners began to seriously consider the Waterbury property in late January. In late March, they and two friends from Montana piled into two cars and completed the three-day journey to Waterbury. Since then, they've negotiated a lease agreement with representatives of the property's owners, hired a film booking agent out of New York City, and spent the rest of the time giving their theater a comprehensive facelift.
"I think it's great that they're here, it's great that they're trying to revive that theater," said Sen. Robert J. Kane, R-Watertown, a long-time observer of business trends along Wolcott Street.
"I think having that theater back and running will just add to the experience of shopping on Wolcott Street," said Kane, who is celebrating his 18th anniversary as the owner of Kartele Cellular Phones at 511 Wolcott St. "I think this area has already established itself as Greater Waterbury's preeminent shopping area, and that any time you can add good restaurants and good entertainment venues to the mix you enhance the overall shopping experience for our customers.
"Things like (the opening of) the theater just keep adding to the quality of life along this street."
FOR THE TWO PARTNERS, Connecticut was unexplored territory. Smith had friends in New York City and was at least somewhat familiar with the Northeast, but Evans had never been anywhere near the East Coast.
"Actually, Connecticut is a great place to live because it's got a pretty amazing mix of things," Evans said. "It's got big, modern cities and everything that they offer, but it's also got a lot of little towns that really give you that slower-paced, small-town feeling that I really like."
Smith said the furniture, seats, screens and projection and concession equipment within the theater are all in good working shape and will require little or no extra attention. Mostly, he said, the theater's carpets need a good cleaning, and the interior walls need a fresh coat of paint.
Evans estimates the partners will spend about $35,000 to get the theater cleaned and up and running, plus an additional $15,000 in initial film rental fees.
The partners plan to hire about eight part-time workers between now and the theater's opening in mid-May, and expect to create at least 15 permanent jobs should the venture prove to be successful.
After all, it takes some manpower to keep such a large facility well-maintained and running smoothly, Smith said.
"This is a big, beautiful building, but if you don't keep up with the cleaning and maintenance, it'll fall apart on you from the inside out," he said, emphasizing what the partners are calling a key part of their business plan: operating a clean and well-maintained theater. "You have got to keep up with the maintenance or it's going to start looking like crap in here."
Smith said that every day, 15 to 20 cars will visit the plaza, see the marquis that indicates it is reopening in May, and stop by the theater just to inquire about the details. Invariably, the visitors will begin to recount fond memories of long-ago family outings or special teen-age dates, spinning personal vignettes full of great memories and special moments.
"And then each conversation seems to end with the person saying something like, 'We used to love coming here, but then they stopped maintaining the place and it got real nasty and messy,'" he said.
Evans said the partners arrived too late in the season to compete with the Regal Brass Mill Stadium at the Brass Mill Center for this summer's new Hollywood releases. Instead, they will show independent films, art films and whatever first-run Hollywood films the Regal did not book, biding their time until the summer ends and a round of bidding starts.
"After the summer, we'll be competing directly with the Regal for the same first-run titles," he said.
| IP: Logged