Blank Slate Theater Owners Reinvent Ord Theater
Brian and Kelly Magiera, a couple from Ord, Neb., recently opened the Blank Slate Theater. When the couple first bought the building it was a movie theater, which they kept open for another four years. But with new times come new activities, and slowly but surely they were losing profit from the lack of customers. “[We] needed to do something different because people don’t go to movies anymore,” Brian Magiera said.
They had a choice to make: Use the savings they had, sell their things and put the money into the movie theater — or have a vacant building. After deciding to renovate the building into the newly improved theater, the couple got to work. The project started in December 2010.
Brian Magiera started with the basement, which was filled with sand, brick and cement. The entire inside of the building was gutted out, which left an empty shell. The wiring was redone throughout the entire building, as was the plumbing. A new heating system and air conditioning pump were installed and a kitchen now stands in the basement. The old stage was kept but was updated with new curtains, wood floors, video and sound systems, and is equipped with 80-foot screens. Throughout the building, there is fresh paint, a new bar and newly designed bathrooms.
The hardest part of starting up a new business is the financial aspect, and the Magieras’ case was no different. Many times, banks won’t work with new businesses because if the business fails, the bank may not get its money back. Most of the decorations, including doors, light fixtures, chandeliers, the fireplace and the kitchen and bar equipment, was found at auctions. Other things found in the theater, such as the moldings, were used materials from old buildings.
Brian Magiera said it helped that he grew up around construction and knew how to create something exciting and attractive out of limited space. This saved the couple money because it meant not needing to hire contractors and construction workers. On May 28, 2012, the theater finally opened and is now a place used for weddings, plays, auctions, dining and other activities.
“Surround yourself with people that believe in you,” Brian Magiera advised new entrepreneurs. “Surround yourself with people who are on board [with you].”
In other words: If you have a dream, you can do it – but if you don’t surround yourself with people who don’t think you can do it, or aren’t ready to help with decisions, it will be a difficult journey.