Puppet Theaters / Party Place Businesses

Puppet Theaters / Party Place Businesses

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

March 29th, 2012, 7:04 pm #1

We have some folks here that have been discussing starting a local puppet theater, and I know a few who have done it, or are working on it, that I'll invite here. Crazy Chris, John Hardman, Steve Taylor & Bob Abdou have some experience with this. Tony has found a local building that would suite very well, so let's discuss this. Tony and Chris recap your thoughts here.

I think this could be a franchise business idea...that might compete with Chuck E. Cheese.

Ax
Last edited by axtell on April 2nd, 2012, 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Tony Borders
Tony Borders

March 29th, 2012, 7:55 pm #2

To see the building I think would be perfect (in case someone wants to buy it for me) go to http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/9500- ... 0158_zpid/


Personally, I think I could make better pizza than Chuck E. Cheese. But I love their atmosphere!

I do know that buildings must be handicap accessible, thus no two story for me.
I realize that this could bring in field trips during the weekdays and birthdays on the weekends. Another option (if I were owner) would be to use it as a daycare during the week and a birthday party place on the weekends. It would require some adjusting and lots of cleaning!

Last edited by axtell on April 2nd, 2012, 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Tony Borders
Tony Borders

March 29th, 2012, 8:01 pm #3

We have some folks here that have been discussing starting a local puppet theater, and I know a few who have done it, or are working on it, that I'll invite here. Crazy Chris, John Hardman, Steve Taylor & Bob Abdou have some experience with this. Tony has found a local building that would suite very well, so let's discuss this. Tony and Chris recap your thoughts here.

I think this could be a franchise business idea...that might compete with Chuck E. Cheese.

Ax
I have a magician friend who ran a jump house rental place for years. When a local jump house warehouse (where kids come to you) went out of business he took it over. How did he make it work? (Lots of hard work to begin with). He lost 30 pounds in the first couple of months.

He charges admission during the school day for field trips and families. He hosts a junior high dance one night a month and a senior high dance one night a month. He has a family entertainment night one Saturday evening each month. He rents to a church on Sunday mornings. He has comedy nights, magic nights, and bands to fill in any remaining Fridays and Saturdays.

He also has a huge Easter Egg and Visit to the North Pole each year. He is a nice guy so many of his first year's entertainers came for free. He has always been good to us. You can visit his website athttp://www.amagicalplace.net.

Oh, and he has two birthday party rooms for anytime parties. The other place had those as well, but they didn't make it.
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crazy chris
crazy chris

March 29th, 2012, 8:18 pm #4

We have some folks here that have been discussing starting a local puppet theater, and I know a few who have done it, or are working on it, that I'll invite here. Crazy Chris, John Hardman, Steve Taylor & Bob Abdou have some experience with this. Tony has found a local building that would suite very well, so let's discuss this. Tony and Chris recap your thoughts here.

I think this could be a franchise business idea...that might compete with Chuck E. Cheese.

Ax
GREAT TOPIC STARTER STEVE!!

Tony...i checked out the property...its sooooooooooo cooool!!

on the topic of a "chuck e cheese" style place... i LOVE IT!!... however theres one issue that i think might come up... and thats attempting to wrangle the kids up for a show....

i think the allure of chuck e cheese has never been the actual show... its actually background noise...and luckily its animatronic...so chuck e doesnt get his feelings hurt when kids ignore him and run to play games....

so we've found that a more intimate setting...without TONS of distractions works so well to maintain the kids attention and keep the focus on the show you've worked so hard to create...

BUT.... There is a great way to make a chuck e cheese style place work... and that's by segmenting off party rooms and having various entertainers/ puppet shows available.

you could enter into a large gift shop ... say one with a jungle theme...with the axtell animatronic cockatoo up in a tree greeting everyone... the hostess in the gift shop could dismiss each party group into the various party rooms (multi tier'd pricewise) and you could host dozens of parties a weekend...all in one venue... with everything from fully catered...to bring your own snack packages

during the week you could utilize this same concept except patrons would leave the gift shop area and enter one or two different show rooms with various shows going on throughout the day... sort of like a movie theater...but with live entertainment

this particular blueprint would be HUGE in a "tourist" destination like PIGEON FORGE because you would rarely have to update your shows and they would be fresh and new to visiting patrons!!

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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

March 30th, 2012, 2:15 am #5

We have some folks here that have been discussing starting a local puppet theater, and I know a few who have done it, or are working on it, that I'll invite here. Crazy Chris, John Hardman, Steve Taylor & Bob Abdou have some experience with this. Tony has found a local building that would suite very well, so let's discuss this. Tony and Chris recap your thoughts here.

I think this could be a franchise business idea...that might compete with Chuck E. Cheese.

Ax
Chris... could you post photos of your place, inside and out? I'm so excited about this!

Ax
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crazy chris
crazy chris

March 30th, 2012, 3:23 am #6

We have some folks here that have been discussing starting a local puppet theater, and I know a few who have done it, or are working on it, that I'll invite here. Crazy Chris, John Hardman, Steve Taylor & Bob Abdou have some experience with this. Tony has found a local building that would suite very well, so let's discuss this. Tony and Chris recap your thoughts here.

I think this could be a franchise business idea...that might compete with Chuck E. Cheese.

Ax
HERE YA GO STEVE!!



I figured it was easier to just load up a bunch of photos on my blog...

click on the photos to enlarge!!

http://sassafrassjunction.blogspot.com/ ... rd-to.html

thats just a few random shots i selected.... our place is small... but we're allready touring new properties and hope to move within the next few months!

cc
Last edited by axtell on April 2nd, 2012, 1:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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crazy chris
crazy chris

March 30th, 2012, 3:36 am #7

We have some folks here that have been discussing starting a local puppet theater, and I know a few who have done it, or are working on it, that I'll invite here. Crazy Chris, John Hardman, Steve Taylor & Bob Abdou have some experience with this. Tony has found a local building that would suite very well, so let's discuss this. Tony and Chris recap your thoughts here.

I think this could be a franchise business idea...that might compete with Chuck E. Cheese.

Ax
Our hope is to create 4 animal related shows amd build a theater with an almost ZOO-LIKE atmostphere... kinda like going into a "Rainforest Cafe" ...with a huge gift shop and have shows every hour on the hour that are alot like the exotic bird shows you might see at disney or busch gardens... but instead its all done with AXTELL products...

We are about to premiere our EXOTIC BIRD SHOW

then after that we have 3 more shows planned over the next year

THE EXOTIC ANIMAL SHOW
THE WOODLAND CREATURES SHOW
THE REPTILE AND AQUATIC CREATURES SHOW

Just need steve to creat a line of insects and we could do a whole insect show as well!

Imagine what an amazing day a group of vacationers could have at a place like that.... animatronic toucans and monkeys singing from atop a huge tree in the middle of the gift shop.... shows going on ...private parties in adjoining rooms... it could be great!!

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Steve Taylor
Steve Taylor

March 30th, 2012, 3:55 am #8

We have some folks here that have been discussing starting a local puppet theater, and I know a few who have done it, or are working on it, that I'll invite here. Crazy Chris, John Hardman, Steve Taylor & Bob Abdou have some experience with this. Tony has found a local building that would suite very well, so let's discuss this. Tony and Chris recap your thoughts here.

I think this could be a franchise business idea...that might compete with Chuck E. Cheese.

Ax
Wow, what a great topic! Congrats Steve.

I remember as a kid taking a marionette building class at a small puppet theater set up in a strip mall in San Diego and then visiting one upstairs in Solvang CA as a kid (and loving both).

For the past five years, we've been running a "melodrama" theater that appeals to the family audience. Although not a "puppet" theater, rules are rules and boy did I open a "Pandora's box" when we got into it. There are soooo many rules, regulations and codes that it almost seems impossible to do anything like this today (unfortunately). There are insurance regulations, ADA requirements, bathroom minimums, parking minimum (got have parking, usually one space per four people your building may hold), got to be zoned correctly, etc. etc. etc.

Like Tony, we have found some wonderful buildings that could have been adapted, but in the wrong place with the wrong zoning, not enough parking, not enough bathrooms, exits, etc. And putting ONE bathroom into an existing building to meet code can cost $50,000 bucks! Whew! General assembly (as opposed to retail use) of a building has a lot more regulations over and above just opening a store to sell antiques. They even now have regulations on how much air a building must be able to pump for people to breathe. THEN, add on federal, state, city, and county laws on top of it all and...ARGHHH!

Soooo, my suggestion? Find a place that exists already, like a church, theater, etc., that's already set up for all of this and rent it out on a regular basis. We rented out a theater in September and did nine shows (a parody of Twilight called "Twi-Lite") and almost sold out every performance and did well financially...and I didn't have rent to pay the months we were dark. Yay.

I suggest that anyone start small, and grow a clientele until the time they HAVE to get a bigger/their own place. I hope this helps (but well-worth the hard work).

Steve T.
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Steve Taylor
Steve Taylor

March 30th, 2012, 3:59 am #9

We have some folks here that have been discussing starting a local puppet theater, and I know a few who have done it, or are working on it, that I'll invite here. Crazy Chris, John Hardman, Steve Taylor & Bob Abdou have some experience with this. Tony has found a local building that would suite very well, so let's discuss this. Tony and Chris recap your thoughts here.

I think this could be a franchise business idea...that might compete with Chuck E. Cheese.

Ax
And one more thought (sorry)...

Like anything in real estate, you can't forget LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. Your place must be viewable from major thoroughfares and easily accessible so people who don't care or think about going to theater will notice ya! Okay, that's it (I hope)

Steve T.
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crazy chris
crazy chris

March 30th, 2012, 8:23 am #10

We have some folks here that have been discussing starting a local puppet theater, and I know a few who have done it, or are working on it, that I'll invite here. Crazy Chris, John Hardman, Steve Taylor & Bob Abdou have some experience with this. Tony has found a local building that would suite very well, so let's discuss this. Tony and Chris recap your thoughts here.

I think this could be a franchise business idea...that might compete with Chuck E. Cheese.

Ax
You bring up some great points Steve!!

We are lucky to be in a small town where alot of those issues do not exist...and luckily people travel sometimes hundreds of miles to visit us... so our location hasnt kept us from seeing success ...

right now our biggest issue is size... we have a great relationship with an existing theater across the street that seats 6 times the people as we do...so we have began renting it out for large school groups that we simply cant fit in our place...and it does work great!!

There's just something special about having our own place though... it's like a character all its own... with the bright colorful signage ...detailed stage... and gift shop ... it helps to make us a "brand name" and i love that!.... atleast one person a week asks us if we are a "franchise" and that makes me so giddy... because its my "baby"... hahahaha

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