Thursday, October 18, 2012

Walmart plan drive-in theater store

Retail giant Walmart have unveiled plans for a pioneering mega-store/drive-in combo in a Twin Cities suburb. The store will open as a regular Walmart Supercenter during daylight hours and convert to a drive-in movie theater after dusk.
The Cottage View drive-in sign with a Walmart logo attached
Walmart's pioneering dual purpose site begins construction soon
Walmart planners got the idea because the land that they have just bought for their new store was a recently closed drive-in movie theater in Cottage Grove, Minnesota. The Cottage View Drive-In had been screening movies every summer since 1966 until their final season this year.

Gerry Herringer, owner of the land on which Cottage View is located, has been trying to sell the land for the past 5 years claiming that the nostalgic lure of the drive-in can't compete with the modern hi-tech multiplexes with digital everything. He also says that streaming media has contributed to the death of the drive-in. Visitors to Cottage View have been declining for a number of seasons, while expenses have increased every year.

The final straw was the ultimate transition to digital only film which would require a $100,000 investment for a projector to play these movies.

An existing Walmart Supercenter
Walmart during the daytime

A Walmart at night with a movie projected on the wall
This is how the Walmart Drive-In may look after dark
Walmart have no problem dropping $100k on a projector and a few million dollars on a new building which would create around 300 full and part time jobs while increasing city tax revenue for the site by more than 10 times. This seems to be a win-win situation for everybody involved, except for the displaced theater workers who will probably not want to work until the early hours for Walmart's minimum wage.

For the grand opening, slated for April 2014, Walmart will be rolling back the calendar to 1966 and showing 'It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World' the first ever movie presented at the original Cottage View Drive-In. The opening weekend will be free for all Cottage Grove residents, who will also receive complimentary popcorn from the Walmart concessions building and a 15% discount coupon to use in-store through the end of the month.

If successful, this trial location could pave the way for hundreds more of these drive-in combo stores popping up across the US bringing the drive-in experience to a whole new generation of youngsters who are unfamiliar with how babies were made in the 50s and 60s.

Share your drive-in experiences with us in the comments section below.


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