Troy Chamber President, Tara Tomcsik-Husak interviews Paul Glantz, Co-Founder and Chairman of Emagine Entertainment, Inc.
TARA: How had Covid19 affected your business and the industry as a whole?
PAUL: Emagine, like the entire theater industry is in the U.S., has been required to close by government mandate.
TARA: With all of your Theaters being closed, I assume your company had to lay people off. What are your plans for bringing back your workforce?
PAUL: Yes, sadly we had to furlough all of our non-managerial teammates. We have retained all our theater managers, including our hourly managers and they are working independently in separate areas of each facility undertaking special projects long referred to as “if I had time” tasks. We consider their roles essential because we have to try to protect our buildings and ensure that they are maintained so that we can resume normal operations in the future. (Even with such efforts, our Canton Twp. facility was vandalized on Sunday night with thieves breaking into our electrical transformer and stealing the copper inside.) With respect to our furloughed teammates for whom we provide health insurance coverage, we are paying 100% of their required premiums during the time they are off work. We are also planning to pay signing bonuses to all those who return once we are able to open again.
TARA: Wow that is disheartening. You are trying to keep the theaters in great condition, dealing with vandalism, while trying to do everything you can to take care of your current AND furloughed team. With all of these stressors, how do you stay optimistic during this time?
PAUL: I am optimistic by nature. I think folks can’t wait to go out to the movies again. When they do, they’ll find our venues in droves.
TARA: While I do agree your customers will come back in droves, is there any way people can help support theaters and entertainment venues right now?
PAUL: Our guests can consider buying gift cards during this period of time (by phone 248-794-7447, email email@example.com, or online www.emagine-entertainment.com/gift-cards/). Doing so will bolster our working capital. That being noted, we are very fortunate that we have operated our business very conservatively, and we have the means to meet all of our obligations as they come due for the foreseeable future.
TARA: How are you staying connected with your customers?
PAUL: We miss our guests and our guests miss us, so we have been creating lots of fun and engaging content on social media to stay connected. We are also going to open up a streaming channel for some limited release films that were originally planned to be released in theaters this Spring. We will be promoting that on our website and social channels.
TARA: Ironically enough, I saw one of your Facebook posts a few weeks back (before the Executive Order) where you were giving away free popcorn when you purchased a gift card. I did swing by your Novi location, bought a gift card, got my popcorn, and enjoyed it while watching a movie at home. Although I would have rather enjoyed a movie in one of your theater’s recliners, it did make me feel connected.
As you look toward the future, what’s the first thing Emagine Theaters are going to do once we are back to our new normal?
PAUL: Immediately prior to opening, we are going to disinfect every room in our buildings using a disinfectant fogger system. When we are able to swing the doors open again, we’re going to make lots of fresh popcorn, and we’re going to welcome our guests back with open arms.
TARA: I’ve always admired how Emagine has remained a pillar in the community. You seem to always prioritize the importance of giving back. Are you doing anything to help the community in regards to Covid19 at this time?
PAUL: Among the many charities we already support, we just made a rather sizable donation to Gleaners, last Friday. We’re told that food insecurity has tripled of recent. Of course, we also made a big donation to the Salvation Army just before all this broke loose.
TARA: Do you have an advice/tips can you give to other businesses dealing with struggles during this time?
PAUL: I would be proactive in reaching out to one’s creditors and landlords, particularly if you are unable to meet your contractual obligations. I believe that there will be substantial incentives to ensure that businesses that were viable prior to this pandemic will be supported by their counterparties to ensure that they remain viable once this is in our rearview mirror.
TARA: Thanks Paul for chatting with me on how Emagine is dealing with this health crisis. I know many of us look forward to when you re-open your doors and invite us back to enjoy the great entertainment you provide.
To feature your company in the Blog Series: The Effects of COVID-19 on Industry, please contact Troy Chamber President, Tara Tomcsik-Husak.
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