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TOPIC: Any theater owners have young children?

Any theater owners have young children? 17 Dec 2007 11:29 #17053

  • Cinemateer
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An interesting thought just came to mind when considering those who have bought/sold/owned theaters. It appears that most do not have young children.

So my question becomes, how many of you are running a theater and have young children? I'm talking children under the age of 12 who can't legally be left alone or help in the theater. Older children would become an asset to the owner eventually when they can help, but what about YOUNG children? Anyone?

I'm wondering if this is a business that doesn't work well for parents of young children where your success also means their success. That's a lot more pressure on the owner to make a theater succeed- there is no option for failure whatsoever.
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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Re: Any theater owners have young children? 17 Dec 2007 12:54 #17054

  • rdetzler
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I have a 9 year old boy and a two week old boy! However, to answer your question I have another job and the theater is mainly an expensive hobby that my wife wishes I would find a buyer for!
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Re: Any theater owners have young children? 17 Dec 2007 13:35 #17055

  • leeler
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we do not have any children and you're exactly right that it makes the decision-making so much easier. We were both in the corporate world and hated our jobs. We went to a nearby town and stayed in a B&B. We were kind of bored and looked in a ten year old phone book for a theater and just drove to this town to see what was playing. Well, it had been closed for six years and there was a real estate sign out front and the office was/is right across the street. We went over to talk to the realtor as a lark and then the idea came to us. After several meetings and lots of sleepless nights we made the decision and haven't looked back.

This theater has a side office on either side of the front doors and we turned one into a video store and just turned the other one into a gourmet popcorn shop. We're having a ball and working twice as hard as we ever did at those corporate jobs. The difference is we love what we do now....
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Any theater owners have young children? 17 Dec 2007 14:09 #17056

i have had my kids work box office on weekends at that age (they are now older). People asked if they were my kids and they said yes. Its probably not a problem here as we are a smaller town
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Re: Any theater owners have young children? 18 Dec 2007 10:05 #17057

  • Barry Floyd
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I own a theatre and my boys (7, 5, & 1) are always there every time mom and I are there.

When we built the place 4 years ago, my oldest son had just turned 3, my middle son was less than a year old, and the little guy wasn't even thought of yet. We built our concessions / projection building with two booths to accomodate a future second screen. For the first two years, booth #2 was the baby "play room" complete with beds, toys, TV, VCR, etc. As the business grew, we needed storage space, and the boys got kicked out of their room into the office. When screen 2 finally came along, the office got converted into storage, and the boys got booted again.

When we're open 7 nights a week, our kids are only at the theatre on Friday & Saturday nights. I stay home with them 2 nights, my wife stays home with them 3 nights, and the other two nights they are at the theatre with us.

My seven year old likes to help out with the projection duties. He tells everybody he's the one that starts the movies... and technically he does... flip the switch, but that's it. He has his own yellow security vest he wears when he helps out the parking attendants.

My wife usually leaves with the kids during intermission, so they're usually home and in bed by a decent hour.

And yes, like rdetzler.. I have a day job in Civil Engineering that supports our family, and the theatre "ALMOST" supports itself.

There's a good article on our website about my son and his duties at the theatre that ran in the local Entertainment Newspaper last summer. It's called "Stardust Memories" and it ran in May of 2006.
Check it out if you have time.... http://www.stardustdrivein.com/media.htm



[This message has been edited by Barry Floyd (edited December 18, 2007).]
Barry Floyd
Floyd Entertainment Group
Lebanon, Tennessee

Stardust Drive-In Theatre
Watertown, Tennessee
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Re: Any theater owners have young children? 18 Dec 2007 11:58 #17058

  • slapintheface
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Barry nice story on your theater!
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Re: Any theater owners have young children? 18 Dec 2007 16:47 #17059

  • rodeojack
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We raised our family at our drive-in. Cindy had our second before we took the place over. Our third came a little over a year later. Thankfully, she had the good timing to wait until after the show had let out for the night.

Our oldest did some babysitting during some early weekends when Cindy was needed at the boxoffice. As they got older, they integrated into the business. Like Barry's mine played parts of our operation long before we could have hired their friends. My youngest two are now finishing their college and deciding which way they're heading. Our oldest lives nearby, still works with us and is actively trying to figure out how to retire her parents (20 years early) so she can take over!

Our experience was almost totally positive. My kids did well in school and college. They're a diverse bunch, each excelling in directions that don't compare to her siblings. They learned their work ethic here, and took with them their parents' good looks, exceptional intelligence and all-around pleasant nature!


On the other hand, I've seen one case of "child raising at the theatre" that I didn't think was such a great deal. This theatre had nowhere for the kids to be but in the lobby, where they, their playpens and miscellaneous toys had to be dodged by the theatre's customers. I think the owners had 3 kids while they ran the place, and they were there more out of necessity than for any reasons practical to the business or family.

I can see how having them underfoot when they're too young to understand what's going on might be challenging. In our case, living at our work allowed us to deal with that. On the other hand, I wouldn't trade being able to bring them up in the environment they had, and I don't think they would, either.

For me personally, having this place as my main employment allowed me to be here when my kids caught the morning school bus... and I was here when they got home. And so was their Mom, who was able to choose to stay home for them.

There's not guarantee that any way you choose will work out like the next guy. It did for us, and in retrospect, I wouldn't trade it.
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Re: Any theater owners have young children? 19 Dec 2007 07:15 #17060

  • Pieman
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I grew up at theatres..my dad has been a projectionist nearly all my life...I can't work in the projection booth as he drummed into me "don't touch anything"..so now Im too scared..I did have a go at focussing a while back..but it was just wrong to me..I just stay downstairs in front of house!!
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Re: Any theater owners have young children? 19 Dec 2007 11:11 #17061

  • rodeojack
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I'd sure try to get over that, Pieman. If you ever get your own place, you don't want to be unable to operate such an important part of the business.

Don't worry... they won't jump out and bite. And while you can damage film (start learning on old previews), it's not all that hard to do major damage to something as industrial as a theatre projector. It doesn't take long to learn where the fragile parts are... like the lenses (don't drop them!).
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Re: Any theater owners have young children? 19 Dec 2007 19:19 #17062

  • rufusjack
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Our boys, 4 and 5 years old, are usually with us at the theatre we opened a year ago. Sometimes its great-they watch the movies, help clean up (blue moons only), and interact with customers in an adorable way. They each have their own fantasy theatre of their own creation in a cabinet where they play movies for eachother. We have a use for those unused trailers.
Other times it can be hard when they get bored or decide to play WWF in the lobby during a rush, but we are together and they are learning from us as we work together.
They genuinely love movies and have a deeper knowledge of movies than many adults we know.
Overall-sometimes stressful, but always something we'll be glad we did together.
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