In Baltimore, Bengie’s Drive-In keeps its reels turning
BALTIMORE, MD — The projector beams are still hitting the giant screen at Bengie’s Drive-In as they have since 1956. Owner D. Edward Vogel has had to cut costs and worry about the challenges faced by any small business owner as well as some particular ones, such as the interference caused bright lights from surrounding businesses during the film presentations at this, the last surviving drive-in in the Baltimore area.
t Bengies, each night is a double feature, so guests can see at least two movies for $8 a person. Vogel estimates that Bengies makes 60 percent of its revenue from ticket sales, and the rest comes from concession purchases. There’s a strict “no outside food” policy, and he’s open about the fact that the food sales help keep the business open.
The waterfront property would be more profitable as condos, he says, and his father planned to build them before Vogel took over the theater in the 1980s. He was only able to avoid closing by cutting costs and staff.
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