Shopping Center Business

MAY 2015

Shopping Center Business is the leading monthly business magazine for the retail real estate industry.

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Page 152 of 342

148 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • MAY 2015 S tarted in 1933 in Tempe, Arizona, Harkins Theatre is now the most rec- ognized name of movie theaters in the Southwest. The company currently oper- ates 31 theaters and 446 screens through a combination of ground-up construction and right-opportunity acquisitions. Focusing on markets with a popula- tion draw of 100,000, the company is constructing six theaters with a total of 92 screens this year across the Western United States. "Our biggest differentiators are our passion, service, signature programs and amenities and committee to providing the ultimate movie-going experience," says Mike Bowers, president of COO of Scott- sdale, Arizona-based Harkins Theatres. "We are successful because we love what we do and we put the guest experience first; we are never satisfied with the status quo and will always do whatever it takes to evolve the movie-going experience." The company strives to offer guests a truly unique experience and one that will keep they coming back. Combining award-winning popcorn and signature programs has been the ticket for Harkins Theatres. The company offers the Cine Capri concept with a 80-foot wide screen, 500 reclining loveseats, digital projection and 40,000 watts of digital Dolby Atmos sound; Harkins PlayCenter, an in-lobby children's playcenter offering a supervised and engaging environment for children ages 3 through 8 while parents enjoy a movie of their choice; a loyalty program that offers moviegoers free popcorn and $1.50 drink refills each visit; and Summer Movie Fun, Harkins' annual kids pro- gram offering 10 movies over the course of 10 weeks. These programs, amenities and a fo- cus on guest experience are what keep Harkins in the theater game and success- ful. The company's expansion efforts run the gamut from developing state-of-the-art megaplexes designed to draw up to a mil- lion or more attendees per location to niche concept with a smaller footprint and expanded food and beverage offerings. At the core, Harkins understands the movie theater industry, as well as its role in driving attendance and frequency to retail centers, and being able to meet the ever-changing demands of moviegoers is part of the package. The company tailors its concept to the market and center by incorporate ameni- ties that are appropriate to the market de- mographics. Some theaters feature lobby bars, reserved seating and expanded food offerings while others offer the more tra- ditional theater amenities, however at any of the theaters in-theater service is not per- mitted, which is a key differentiator from the luxury in-theater dining concept. "One of the many reasons guest choose to experience at movie at our theaters is the ability to escape and remove distrac- tions," explains Bowers. "The ability to lose oneself in the story unfolding on the big screen is comprised when serv- ers are in and out of the auditorium and interacting with guests throughout the auditorium." "To state more precisely, we strive to be the best movie theater," he continues. "We are not looking to be a restaurant that shows movies, as such concepts typi- cally do neither very well." While all of the company's new theaters will be decked out with all top-quality fea- tures, technology and amenities, the Cam- elview at Fashion Square 14, opening this fall in Scottsdale, Arizona, is top of mind for the company. "It is a passion project for us because it's replacing our beloved Camelview 5, which was built in 1973 by our founder Dwight 'Red' Harkins," explains Bowers. The new theater will feature modern finishes, with a homage to the legacy of original theater, unequaled amenities and state-of-the-art technology. Amenities will include the Vérité Lounge, a lobby bar serving cocktails, craft beers and wines; Harkins Ultimate Loungers, the com- pany's plush electronic reclining chairs; and a café featuring custom coffee drinks, desserts and a gelato bar, and an outdoor patio lounge. The company's commitment being the best has helped it stay ahead of many of the current trends in the movie theater industry, especially the popular and prof- itable trend of renovating and remodel- ing poor-performing theaters. Although many competitors are seeing increases in revenue through remodeling and incorpo- rating new amenities, Harkins continued reinvestment in its facilities and amenities has helped to skip this challenge. From changing trends to advances in technology, the movie industry has seen more challenges than many other indus- tries but it continues to thrive. Disruptive technologies, like television, in-home op- tions and the endless Internet, have not been able to break the market, as the in- dustry is in the midst of another record- breaking year, notes Bowers. "We are bullish about the future of the movie business," says Bowers. "There is simply no replacement for the communal experience and escape of laughing, cry- ing and even shrieking with your loved ones and a couple hundred of your best strangers." n Harkins Theatres

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