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TOPIC: how important is walk up traffic?

how important is walk up traffic? 14 May 2013 15:53 #39981

  • theaterguy
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i've found a location that I think would be perfect for a 2-screen theater/bar and I'm wondering in your opinion, how important is walk up traffic. I'm a lifelong movie fan and I don't think I've ever just walked past a theater and decided, hey I'm going to drop in and spend the next two hours in a dark room. I've always been of the mindset that going to the movies is a destination. The location I've found is kind of hidden away in the town I live in, in what I consider (and others I've talked to) and up and coming part of town, walkable from a few important key demographic areas in this city. My goal is to open a 2nd run/revival house and focusing on making it more of an event space where people come see a movie, drink 2-3 beers and buy some comfort food. The area currently houses a few art galleries, urban lofts, and there are no other restaurants/bars within that immediate area. The downtown area is approximately 1 mile from my location. This location is basically an empty shell with 28' ceilings. Just wondering what everyones thoughts are on the walk up vs destination traffic. Am I looking at a no win situation? Any advice or insight would be appreciated.

thanks
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how important is walk up traffic? 14 May 2013 18:16 #39982

  • BusyBee
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I don't think walk up traffic is as important as visibility is. Your "walk-by" traffic becomes important, so that people know you're there and decide to make your theater a destination in the future. We are in a small town that is somewhat of a tourist destination and our theater is located about a block off the beaten path. I don't really notice that we get people wandering by and deciding to stop to watch a show at that time, but we do get people who seek us out, stop in to visit, ask about movies and take photos of our building (historic theater). These people come back to see a show at a later time.

If you're too far off the beaten path, you'll need to create visibility for yourself with good marketing and signage. Maybe collaborate with some of the galleries in the neighborhood to create some awareness of your existence.
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how important is walk up traffic? 14 May 2013 18:30 #39983

  • revrobor
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Coming from "back in the day" I can tell you that theatres used to be built in the center of the downtown area and foot traffic WAS important. But I believe that has changed where multiplexes are much like big box stores with their own large parking lots and frequently near large shopping centers. When building in the location you suggest the important thing is making your building visible and off-site advertising. Perhaps you can place an off-site sign in the downtown area. In your state will selling alcohol restrict your theatre to being an over 21 operation?
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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how important is walk up traffic? 15 May 2013 14:43 #39988

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thanks for the replies. actually met with a contractor today.

looking into ABC laws about under 21, but as a restaurant/lounge there are plenty of locations in town that allow under 21 in. there is actually an arthouse that sells beer/wine that I've never seen any restrictions listed in any of their advertisements about ages. I defintely plan on reaching out to local artists to do poster art if possible and since the downtown area allows flyers/posters to be hung I'll be sure to have a street team of college kids working for free in getting the word out.

The funny thing about this location is it is relatively hidden away but literally two blocks from a very desireable neighborhood. There are maybe 1-2 small restaurants within walking distance and neither serve beer/drinks

Everyone I am talking to about the project I am asking for their complete honest opinion as I don't want my passion for this to cloud reality. But all the people who've lived here way longer thanI have think it will work. I'll keep on plugging away. Thanks again for the input this board has been a great resource
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