One of…if not THE most common question I have been asked is “When are you opening?”
If you’re looking for a date, all I can say is “we are getting closer” and are in the last stages of putting things together, but we still have a lot to do. It’s getting closer. Hopefully within a couple of months.
If you’d like to know more about why this is the case, keep reading.
WHEN ARE YOU OPENING?!
Depending on the day, and how many times I’ve been asked (some days it is well into the double digits), the response ranges from a polite smile and “Eventually” to a Facepalm and an exasperated “NEVER!!!!!” Sometimes I am able to provide a more calculated response. The truth is… we just don’t know. We have been careful about speculating and have changed our estimate several times. A lot of you have wondered “WHY IS IT TAKING SO LONG?!” The short answer is “Because it is.”
The long answer is because ….
(1)This is a family business. The theater industry is overwhelmingly corporate so here we are, just a small town family doing what we can to bring an entertainment venue back to the town. You can’t just Google “opening a theater” and get meaningful responses. The theater industry revolves around companies like Regal and Carmike. A 5 screen theater in a rural town isn’t the norm.
That being said…
(2)It’s a HUGE undertaking. The mind-blowing financial investment is just the beginning. We don’t have a multi-million dollar corporation funding our endeavor. In case you didn’t know… theaters are EXPENSIVE. (For example, a lot of people have requested the reusable popcorn tubs. While we like this idea, the initial cost for these is over $300,000 because of the minimum order requirement…) We have to be meticulous in our planning when it comes to selecting the equipment and supplies. We want this to be a high quality theater. Finding quality that is affordable and accessible to a small theater (by many standards) takes time. We haven’t done this a million times. We don’t necessarily know what’s best on everything and that takes research. Research takes time.
(3)We are doing our best to keep things local. As you all have experienced, sometimes small operations take longer. It’s about priorities. We felt it was important to give the business to local vendors where we can. For us, that meant going with a local contractor. A smaller crew is certainly going to work slower than someone who comes in like a machine with a prefabricated building. We didn’t choose the Amazon Prime shipping speed on this project.
(4)Attention to detail. Sure, companies exist that their sole job is to provide us with a turn-key return. We didn’t want mass produced. We wanted ours. For me, it was important that the theater had a unique name and a fun logo. It took me almost a month working with a company getting our logo perfect. For my mom, all of the decorative details have been painstakingly chosen. Everything from the stone design on the exterior to the chandelier in the lobby has been chosen by us. Dad has focused on making sure we have state of the art technology. We have the kind of technology that makes other theaters say “Oh wow… “ Many theaters do what’s “Good enough.” We are going beyond that. It takes time, but these are the details that are important to us and will hopefully reflect our dedication to bringing you something truly special. It may add to the time but it should also enhance your experience.
(5) This is a construction project. Anyone who has ever built something knows that you run into delays and setbacks that are beyond your control. When we purchased the building, we intended to spruce up the existing structure and go from there. The building had been closed for over 5 years when we purchased it. It wasn’t in great condition to begin with so that combined with the time… it was not pretty. Then, we decided to add additional theaters. Adding on to the building meant we were no longer able to be grandfathered into the old laws and now the building must be made ADA complaint and sprinkler systems had to be installed. (The original structure was from the 70s.)
The other thing is that lots of the necessary components like the cabinets, seats, popcorn buckets, etc are not just waiting at Wal-Mart or Lowe’s. These items have production times that prevent us from moving forward at a fast pace. We must order …in many cases “3 months in advance” for delivery in “6-12 weeks” That kind of huge gap makes it difficult to move forward quickly. There have been points where we’ve done all that we can until something else arrives.
(6)There’s a lot to be done. While it may seem like all we need is some screens and seats and popcorn, building a theater from nothing involves a lot of moving parts. Aside from the obvious construction aspects, we have to establish accounts with all of the studios in order to even have a chance to show their films. These applications are very lengthy and super thorough. I often compare it to applying to sit for the bar. We have to come up with job applications and job descriptions and emergency procedures and tax accounts and find a booker to get us films and decide on concessions and buy supplies… the theater requires so much to operate.
Hopefully, this clears up some of the speculation and confusion about our opening date. We know there are rumors going around, but just know that this Facebook page (and all of our social media) is managed directly and exclusively by me… Kavitha… the Director of Operations and owners’ daughter. We aren’t dodging your questions about opening, it’s just that I can only say “We don’t know yet” so many times. I promise you won’t miss our announcement. We just don’t want to announce anything until we are certain we can hit that goal.
We truly appreciate your support and patience and look forward to meeting all of you once we open.
In the meantime, we encourage you to look back through our past posts on Facebook. We also have a FAQ note and all of the newspaper articles posted. You are bound to find answers to many of your burning questions there. if you need more information, I can be reached here or by email Info@AthensMoviePalace.com.