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TOPIC: Buying a movie theater (I hope)

Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 11 Dec 2008 10:07 #30505

  • Mike
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It's bnice to know that when there's a sale on board that it turns into a multiple bid opportunity for the seller. Yes movie theatres are for sale, and yes people are buying them , even in small town NH.
Michael Hurley
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Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 11 Dec 2008 11:59 #30506

  • jgleason
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Yep, I just hate being on the losing end of the bid!
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Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 11 Dec 2008 12:15 #30508

  • Mike
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When we bought The Colonial Theatre we found ourselves in a bidding war with 4 parties. One was a co-op of rich biz people. My wife and I talked and said: "do you want to own and run the movie theatre? If so we'll have to up our bid." We came back in 25K over the list price when they requested last and final offer and ended up 15K over the next highest bidder. Playing it too cute as you come down to the wire can knock you off the prize. 15 K when you are looking at a lif investment that's mortaged is small change.
Michael Hurley
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Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 27 Dec 2008 20:51 #30608

  • jgleason
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Just a quick update for anyone that was following this thread. I withdrew my offer last week. The people in first position have all but closed the deal. I wish them every success.

I am continuing my search for the right opportunity, maybe some place where the Winter's aren't so darn cold and snowy!
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Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 28 Dec 2008 00:55 #30609

  • BurneyFalls
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Sorry you lost out on the deal. That was a very cool-looking building from the pictures, at least.
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Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 18 Feb 2009 09:28 #30909

  • jgleason
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I wish the new owners success, they have already reopened as the Princess Theater in Berlin, NH. They also own the Rialto in Lancaster, NH. Their web site could use some work, it looks better in IE than Firefox.

The listing price was $99,900 and I offered $85,000. Unfortunately the seller had already accepted the offer from TBATheatres, which was a bit less than mine.

Although I am disappointed in missing out on this opportunity it taught me a few lessons, the most important of which is - time is of the essence! So for anyone in a similar position I recommend getting all your ducks in a row first, find some opportunities and then be prepared to move quickly. I wasted valuable time by not being totally prepared when I first went to look at the building.
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Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 18 Feb 2009 17:38 #30910

  • jacker5
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Don't beat yourself up about that theatre. I can't beleive they opened already. There was alot to do with it and I hope they got rid of the musty smell!
I was saw that theatre about 10 years ago when it was originally for sale and it was a mess. They did alot of work and it looked good now. But still needed alot of work. I woudl love to see some pictures of the updates.
But to say you didnt act fast enough it wasn't liek the theatre went up for sael overnight it was on the market for a few years just wasn't advertised.
The new owners ahd the advantage of ownign atheater already so they were able to make good with the banks and get in over night pretty much.
Lil guys like me an you have to make business plans and get approved and come up with big downpayments making it almost imposible.
There will be another one, hey maybe this will prove to be to much for them and it will be available again, and it will be all fixed up.

Phil
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Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 18 Feb 2009 18:03 #30912

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Hampton NH theatre was just closed/sold so CVS could build: close to the beach. Great opportunity.
Michael Hurley
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Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 19 Feb 2009 03:30 #30917

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So sad! CVS! That was a nice theatre I am surprised the comunity did not keep that one alive. But may of been only a seasonal thing. Kind of dead the rest of the year except for the summer.
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Re:Buying a movie theater (I hope) 01 Mar 2009 11:00 #31036

  • jbowen
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Hi All,

I have been so busy that I have completely missed this thread. I am an owner of TBA Theatres, which as you all know by now, operates the Princess in Berlin, NH. This is a long post, but there is a lot to cover. Sorry if this puts some of you to sleep :)

I thought I would take a moment to clear up some items mentioned in this thread. First, to jgleason: Thanks for the well wishes. We had no idea there was another interested party and wish you well on your quest to locate a theatre to open/reopen.

TBA Theatres is a SMALL company. All owners work full-time jobs in the Boston area to support the company. We make frequent 190 mile trips (one way) up north to save payroll, do all our own repairs and maintenance as well as all the other functions of a movie theatre company. Sadly, it is not supporting itself, yet. Our plan, one day, is that it will and we think we are on track to do so. Our first theatre, the Rialto in Lancaster was our first opportunity in 20+ years to break into the business as an independent. We paid a premium for it, but it was a risk we needed to take to move our dreams forward.

The Princess went into foreclosure in 2006. A local pizza shop owner purchased it out of foreclosure and hired the old owners to operate it. It stayed open for 2 months in 2007. It went back on the market and was advertised at that point. I actually attended a film during that 2 month re-opening period and noted that the service, cleanliness and presentation of the 8-week-old film was not at the levels I would expect from my company. At face value, the theatre looked like too big an effort for us to take on and we never pursued the property.

The Berlin Main Street Program approached TBA Theatres immediately after the theatre closed with a request that we re-open the theatre. Long story short, they sold us on the town and we saw value in pursuing the property, despite its shortcomings.

We still need to replace the roof (looks like a quilt with all the patches we have had to do to it - someone must have used an ice pick to clear the drain), make plumbing repairs to improve heat, add more weatherstripping/insulation, update the projection booth (it is not fully automated, and it sometimes works like that old car that you have to put the screwdriver in the carburator in order to get it to start - we have not lost a show yet), and a remodel of the bathrooms and concession stand. That is the short list.

It is a big undertaking. We spent almost a year and a half in negotiations and financing requests. We had to do a business plan and put down over 60% to get financed (that is why we had to open before we finished renovating - the bank wanted all our renovation money). It was NOT easy. Many fellow owners here can attest to the difficulty it can be to convince a bank that you will spend 6 months of the year losing money hand-over-fist, but make it up the other 6 months.

I will soon post some before and after pics on our website (public areas only, of course) for those looking to see what is going on.

To dnedrow, I appreciate the website critique. I have never fully liked my site, but it was the best I could do at the time. My traffic gets better every day, so people must be able to read it. I am open to suggestions. If you know of a 'good' model site, post it and I wll check it out.

So, we spent a lot of time and money just cleaning/painting the place and doing significant demolition/cleanup work in the basement (the source of the musty odor) so we could pass fire & building inspection and have a presentable customer service experience that aligns closely with our business model. There are so many stories to tell about "this old theatre" but I have gone on long enough.

So far, the theatre is still in its honeymoon period, but it is meeting, and in many cases, exceeding our forecasts. We continue to think we have made the right decision here and hope that the community continues to respond with their support.

Thanks again for all your well wishes. Have a great day!

Joe Bowen - Owner
TBA Theatres
www.tbatheatres.com
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