Franklin Cinema: How Not To Run A Business
Disclaimer-slash-Warning To Sarcastro: This post was written by a woman who is not entirely over the flu, and whose ears are so congested that it's making her dizzy. So forgive the whining, and the potential abrasiveness. Thanks.
Everybody's talking about the end of Franklin Cinema.
The short--and possibly mangled--version of the story is that the new Thoroughbred multiplex at Cool Springs has cannabilised FC's trade. That loss of revenue coupled with the steep rent increase has led the owner to throw in the towel.
Quotes like the following make me, as a consumer, quite angry:
“I really think that there’s not enough traffic to justify it operating as a cinema. It is very nostalgic, very heart-warming, everyone has stories from the Franklin Cinema, but what has happened is that the Cool Springs multiplexes have drawn most of the business from downtown Franklin. It just can’t compete with the digital, Dolby multi-screens playing 12 of the 15 latest movies,” [property owner Mark] Bloom said.
Why does that make me angry? Because I live in Hermitage. It takes me between 45 minutes and an hour to get to Franklin, yet over the years I have made the trip several times to patronise that specific theatre. I've never gone the same distance to go to Thoroughbred, and I never will. There are shiny movie crackerboxes all over this city, including Opry Mills. Which is only a 15 minute drive for me.
I went out of my way to do business at Franklin Cinema. I liked the idea of an old fashioned movie house. I liked the idea of reliving the movie experiences I had as a kid, and having some hot wings or pizza while I took in a flick. I've dragged out of town visitors there for the experience. I've been as much of a Franklin Cinema booster as one could be without actually owning the place. But over the years I've noticed something.
They decided to save money on things like soap. Trash collection. Mopping between showings. Patching torn seats. Fixing broken seats. Cleaning off the food/foot benches. (Yeah, those "benches" that are supposed to be for food, and say "do not place feet on bench". The ones where people constantly put their feet. ) In the past 18 months, Franklin Cinema has become kind of gross. That, to my mind, is a failure on the part of the business management.
No, people are not going to drive out of their way to see a movie at your theatre if the experience is roughly akin to driving 30 miles to use a Port-a-John. Don't blame the multiplexes. Blame your lack of maintainence.
Right now a friend of mine is on her way to a filmcafe. She's driving a bit out of her way for the experience. All the way to Texas for the Alamo Drafthouse. If Franklin Cinema could pull off an Alamo
Drafthouse Franchise you can bet your bottom dollar I'd drive down there to see almost all my in-theatre movies.