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New Jersey Couple Invests in New Venture for Fun and Profit

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Retiring from work is not what it used to be. Longer life expectancies translate into a couple of decades or more of retirement…and not just for individuals who retire young. Making productive use of free time during retirement has led many people to start new businesses.

Some enterprises of retirees are part-time endeavors. The main idea is staying active with enjoyable work. The interests of a New Jersey couple tilted in the direction of a larger operation. Mike Sodano and Nancy Sabino opened the ShowRoom, an art house cinema in Asbury Park, New Jersey in 2009. Their career experience as corporate event planners induced them to create a fun movie-going experience.

Sodano and Sabino survived the nationwide trend of fewer moviegoers in recent years as the number of downloaded flicks increased. Their endurance is attributed to the couple’s commitment to their new company. In addition to the pleasure of owning a theater, it is treated as a serious business rather than a hobby.

The ShowRoom is moving from its original single-screen location to a three-screen multiplex across the street. Sabino and Sodano realized that capital investment to reach a profitable scale is necessary in the theater industry.

Three years after starting in business, the ShowRoom is breaking even. Expansion permits the company to broaden its customer base by holding events like comedy or music shows to attract a younger audience. With a three-screen venue, The ShowRoom can still feature movies every night for regulars while devoting another area to a special event. Multiple screens also allow patrons to see a new film when a popular one they already viewed is held over.

A capital investment for more screens turns the ShowRoom into a new business with a fresh strategy. For example, the single-screen theater has earned only 35 percent of its income from refreshment sales. The larger facility allows Sodano and Sabino to experiment with different offerings than popcorn and soda, such as menu items from local restaurants.

A scalable business such as a theater succeeds by expanding to an optimal level. Rather than cutting costs, Sodano and Sabino are investing more money in their company. Once these capital expenditures are complete, costs per customer are minimized. Each new moviegoer costs nothing for a theater of sufficient scale. Capital intensive industries often have this characteristic of realizing immediate profit from investing in additional revenue opportunities.