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TOPIC: drive in

drive in 22 Feb 2003 16:18 #28129

  • bubba
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I'm starting a drive-in in MA from scratch, and need to do a busness/operating plan AND I NEED HELP!
indoor theater for consession info. is ok

what products do you sell, how much of each, your cost, and profit, your location in the world for comparison, first run movie house or what?

So many questions so little space
any help is greatly appreaciated I thank you
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Re: drive in 22 Feb 2003 18:30 #28130

  • Large
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READ THE FAQ SECTION!

Then reset your browser and read the concession forum.

Then learn to use the SEARCH feature.

After all of that, you might want to rethink the wisdom of opening a business that is only going to be open for 6-months per year. There is a reason that drive-ins are declining in this country. A drive-in can work, but I would place it in a part of the country where you can have year around operation. I tend to find that my landlord gets cranky if I don’t make payments every month.

Also there is a lovely convention in Las Vegas next month called ShoWest, where all your questions can be answered and more.
www.showest.com
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Re: drive in 22 Feb 2003 22:28 #28131

Here's a brilliant idea keeping Winnipeg's only drive-in (1964) open:

They have a huge site, but they set some room aside for mobile houses, and divide the bills up with some profit fees, and charge each mobile house each month.

These houses are out front.

Just an idea! I think its a good one.

BTW, this drive in fits 998 cars.

"Would you like fries with that?"
Since 1987
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Re: drive in 22 Feb 2003 22:30 #28132

  • j.sirles
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I'd suggest contacting Boston Concessions Group out of Cambridge, MA...they're in your neck of the woods, quite experienced in what you need help with, and seem to be nice folks. BUT keep in mind they are busy people so you may want to have something to offer in return for their help... after all they are a business!
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Re: drive in 22 Feb 2003 23:49 #28133

  • RoxyVaudeville
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Hey Large, did you say 6 months of the year? This guys talking about Maine or Massachusetts (whichever MA is?). He'd be lucky to get 3 months of the year. I book a number of drive-ins in Pennsylvania and most of them are only open 3 to 5 months of the year. The ones that open in April find it slow going before memorial day. And after Labor day... forget it. Deadsville! They close faster then a venus flytrap.

[This message has been edited by RoxyVaudeville (edited February 22, 2003).]
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Re: drive in 23 Feb 2003 18:52 #28134

  • revrobor
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You may also find some help at [url=http://www.crossroadsdrivein.com.]www.crossroadsdrivein.com.[/url] Steve, who owns the Crossroads, has put together a book on starting a drive-in from scratch.

Bob Allen
The Old Showman
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: drive in 24 Feb 2003 10:29 #28135

  • GREGBORR
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If you are serious about it, join the United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association. http://www.uditoa.org/

Best of Luck,

Greg Borr
RTS
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Re: drive in 24 Feb 2003 10:41 #28136

  • Barry Floyd
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I have a copy of that book, and as someone who is currently under construction on a brand new drive-in from scratch.... there are better resources available. Nothing against Steve and the hours he's taken to complete his book about the construction of his drive-in, but what he built in Texas will not work in most parts of the country.
Most of the building codes in our area would not allow alot of the methods he used. If your on a REALLY fixed budget, and have no building codes compliance issues to deal with, it might work for you. It didn't for me.

I'm not an expert on drive-in construction, but I'm learning more each and every day. My learning curve is actually VERTICAL at the moment!

It takes ALOT of money to build a drive-in in today's world. We've soon realized that it will take more than we actually borrowed.

I wrote our business plan with the help and guidance of the local SCORE office. SCORE is the Service Corps of Retired Executives, and they are directly affiliated with the US Small Business Administration.

It took me about 3 months to actually write our plan and revise it. There is NO written factual data (numbers) on drive-in theatres operating in a present day scenerio. At least not readily available to the general public.

The author Kerry Seagraves wrote a book several years ago called "Drive-In Theatres - A History Since Their Inception" that does have some good figures, and numerical data in it, but all of the data is derived from drive-ins built in the 1950's. From that data, you can derive percentages of costs of construction, etc., but it won't be exactly 100% accurate.

One thing that happend while writing our business plan is that I learned so much more about the actuall costs of things, and what it will take to keep the place running. I learned that the movie business is alot more about business than it is about movies.

As easy as it sounds to find a copy of someone else's business plan and financial projections, you really don't want to do that.

Large said:
"There is a reason that drive-ins are declining in this country."

Actually, that's not the case so much nowadays. Yes, there are still drive-ins out there that are closing, but you'll find the majority of the ones that are, are located closer to large cities where the property taxes make it virtualy impossible to show a profit. You'll see below that over the last 10-12 years the rapid decline of the drive-in industry has leveled off substancially, and if industry trends continue, the number of drive-ins reopening MAY eventually surpass the number that are closing per year.

Here's some data provided by the United Drive-In Theatre Owner's Association:

UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN 2003
Stardust - Watertown, Tennessee
Bumpers - Taneytown, Maryland
Route 66 - Williams, Arizona

NEW BUILDS
16 new build drive-ins since the 1990s:
1994 Sandhills (Alliance, NE), 1996 Roanoke Roanoke, AL), 1996 Sand Mountain (Mountainboro,AL), 1997 Vintage (Avon, NY), 1998 The Drive-In (Argo, AL),1998 Cinemagic (Athens, AL), 1999 Moscow Drive-In (Russia), Beijing Motor Cinema(China), 1999 Cheyenne (Cleveland, AL),1999 Sky-Vue (Wausau, WI), 2001 East Bend (Russellville, OH), Docks (Canada), Park 60 (Jamestown, NY), Crossroads (Shiner, TX), Highway 17 (Dewey Rose, GA), 2002 Henagar (Henager, AL).
More are underway in 2003.

RE-OPENED DRIVE-INS
Forty drive-ins have re-opened since the 1990s:
Fiesta (Carlsbad, NM), Bel-Air (Versailles, IN), Starlite (Mitchell, SD),Blue Moon (Guin, AL), Plaza (Richmond, VA- now closed), Erwin's Comet (Dunbar, PA), Sky-Vu (Gratz, PA), Galaxy (N. Vandergrift, PA), Diamond State (Felton, DE), Pageant (Medicine Lodge, KS), Tower (Poteau, OK), Midtown (Harriman, TN), Airline (Ponca City, OK), 66 (Carthage, MO), Five & Drive (Moberly, MO), Moonlite (Brookville, PA), Winter (Wintersville, OH), 21(Ellington, MO), Sunset Auto Vue (Grangeville, ID), Starlite (Litchfield, MN), Reynold's (Transfer, PA), 66 Twin (Weatherford, OK), Monetta (Monetta, SC), Auto (Greenwood, SC- now closed), Motor-Vu (Berwick, PA- now closed), Parkway (Maryville, TN), Tascosca (Amarillo, TX), Park Place (Marion, VA), Pontotoc (Pontotoc, MS), 2000: Verne (Luverne, MN), Highway 18 (Jefferson, WI), Midway (Quitaque, TX), Town & Country (Abilene, TX), Moonlight Outdoor (Shawano, WI),2001: 411 (Centre, AL), 2002: Skyline (Greensburg, KY),Sparta (Sparta, TN),Route 66 Springfield, IL), Edgemere (Shrewsbury, MA), Sandell (Clarendon, TX)



Barry Floyd
Floyd Entertainment Group
Lebanon, Tennessee

Stardust Drive-In Theatre
Watertown, Tennessee
Barry Floyd
Floyd Entertainment Group
Lebanon, Tennessee

Stardust Drive-In Theatre
Watertown, Tennessee
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Re: drive in 24 Feb 2003 15:42 #28137

  • Large
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I was waiting for Barry to chime in.
He's the man.


Yea! I want to go to those Drive-Ins in Russia and China. Where's my ZIL limousine?
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Re: drive in 24 Feb 2003 19:35 #28138

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Barry, great info, I will definitely check out the small biz ad.min. and the uditoa that gregborr suggested.
Are there any other books that might be suggested on D.I.s specifically
or on theater management and the wonderfull world of consessions.

the help is great, if you got it keep it coming!

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Re: drive in 25 Feb 2003 10:37 #28139

  • Barry Floyd
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Another couple of books that I've read cover to cover is:

The Movie Business Book

Guerrilla Marketing

Of course the internet does have "some" valuable information.

I joined the The United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association in August of 2001, and my wife and I have attended the last two association conferences held down in Kissimmee, Florida. We gained alot of valuable information from just being with the other drive-in owners, and finding out from them what works and what doesn't.

The UDITOA web site has a new FAQ page, which helps to answer some of the questions that many prospective owners ask before deciding they want to mortgage away their wife and kids to show movies in a corn field.

The SCORE representative that worked with me was very intstrumental in helping to secure the financing required to build our theatre. Although he did not assist in writing our business plan, he did however go through it with a fine toothed comb and literally trashed it, pointing out errors and ommissions I had made. At first I kind of took it personally, but after reviewing the suggestions he made, they did make more sense. Once I made his suggested corrections, the entire plan read much better, and the financial data was easier to follow.

I had approached the SBA loan division of a large bank in Nashville about aquiring an SBA 7A Loan, and after two and a half months I could never get them to commit to either a YES or NO answer. Their "Board" was always reviewing it....susposedly, and I couldn't ever get a definitive answer. My SCORE rep. suggested I approach my local small town bank and apply for an SBA 504 loan program. The 504 program involves a Community Development Corporation which is a non-profit lender which provides up to 40% of the loan proceeds to businesses who want to set up shop in small under-served communities, help stimulate job growth in those areas, and financially stimulate the economy of the particular area. Because the CDC provided 40% of the loan proceeds, it left our local bank in a position where they only had 50% of the loan proceeds at risk (with the majority of that money being guaranteed by th SBA), and we were approved for our loan within 3 days. With the financial institutions providing 90% of the loan proceeds, it left us to come up with the remaining 10% in cash. Actually, the SBA felt that because we were a new "start-up" business with no proven track record, they required us to provide 15% of the loan in cash and equity. So, it broke down to (A.) Local Bank - 50%
(B.) CDC - 35%
(C.) Owner/Developer - 15%

Keep in mind we (my wife and I) are not anywhere close to being rich people. I work a day job as a computer draftsman for an engineering firm in Nashville, and my wife is a stay at home mom with a 2 1/2 year old terror and a 5 month old baby. In order to come up with the 15% in "cash injection" (as the bank calls it), we made the decision to sell our home in Nashville, move our family 30 miles away to Lebanon, bought a much smaller house, and took the proceeds from the sale of our Nashville home and used it as our portion of the cash required for the loan.

Do I regret it..... not one bit.



Barry Floyd
Floyd Entertainment Group
Lebanon, Tennessee

Stardust Drive-In Theatre
Watertown, Tennessee
Barry Floyd
Floyd Entertainment Group
Lebanon, Tennessee

Stardust Drive-In Theatre
Watertown, Tennessee
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