Start-up offers deals for Garden movie-goers


Greenfield, Mass. -- Business schools and textbooks have long promoted the concept of "win-win situations" -- enterprises that reward all parties involved in an economic transaction.

Manager George Gohl of the Greenfield Garden Cinemas and Kevin Hong, co-founder of Dealflicks of Oakland, Calif., have begun a collaboration they think will boost both organizations.

"We feel we’ve created a good business model on our end," said Hong, "that will benefit movie customers, theaters, communities and Dealflicks."

"The concept is simple," added Gohl. "Dealflicks is the Priceline of movie theaters, so to speak. The idea is to bring people into our theater that don’t go to the movies and have them try it out. We’re hoping to sell seats that normally would not be sold."

Here’s how it works: A customer visits on the Internet and finds Greenfield Cinemas. He or she types in the zip code (01301) and checks what type of deals are being offered for films in which they’re interested. For an example, assume a movie ticket and a large popcorn or large soda costs $15. The website lists a 40 percent discount, so the customer pays only $9.

"At that point," said Gohl, "after you’ve purchased the ticket online, you create a receipt from your printer. Then you bring the receipt to our ticket booth and we admit you to the theater and give you a receipt for a large popcorn or soda redeemable at the concession stand. It’s that easy."

Dealflicks is a start-up tech company. It began partnering with the Garden June 28. Three other sites have signed on -- theaters in Gardena, Calif. (outside of Los Angeles), El Campo, Texas, and North Oakland, close to the group’s home base.

"By the end of the year," said Hong, "we’re hoping to have added 15 or so more locations. We feel we boost smaller theaters and, in turn, help them with their revenues. We give deep discounts, offer a lot of flexibility, and tailor our services to the needs of the theater owners.

"And moviegoers can get discounted movie tickets 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. All prices include tax, and unlike other websites, there are no fees for the customer."

Kevin maintains the timing is perfect for Greenfield Garden Cinemas to join the Dealflicks’ fold. Potential summer blockbusters such as the already released "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "The Dark Knight Rises" along with "The Bourne Legacy" are expected to draw many to theaters across the nation.

Hong, a former stock trader, notes that "all of us at Dealflicks are passionate about films and business." The organization consists of three partners who co-founded the organization, a business development associate, and five interns. Each is under 30 years of age.

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"My partners and I believe," said Hong, "we can enhance fragile, perishable goods -- the showing of motion pictures. Once a film has been shown, it’s over. We want to help ensure that these shows are seen by more people.

"We do all the marketing for the theaters. Our main target is the prime demographic of 13-to-40-year-olds. They’re tech savvy and can be reached on-line.

"We use our expertise in Facebook, Twitter, search engine optimization, blogging, plus Google and Facebook ads to get the word out," said Hong. Dealflicks was recently featured in Killer Startups and Niche Geek, two on-line, trade publications.

Meanwhile, Greenfield Garden Cinemas has always worked diligently to keep its ticket prices affordable for individuals and families. Also, manager George Gohl opens his theater every autumn to accommodate children and their families during Greenfield’s Halloween on the Green with a free showing of the classic film, "It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."

Gohl is a well-known figure in the area with his laid-back, friendly personality and commitment to the community. A former Air Force "brat," George graduated from Sidney, N.Y., High School in 1980 and Alfred University four years later with a bachelor of science in accounting. "Whatever I was going to do in life," he said, "I wanted to know where all the money was going."

Gohl traces his devotion to the motion picture to his childhood days. "I’ve always loved movies," said the theater manager. "I remember going to the drive-in with my mother and father to see "Goldfinger," Sean Connery’s third James Bond film. Over the years, I’d go to the movies twice a week. It’s a great way for all of us to escape our problems, following images on a big screen."

The Garden closed permanently in 1999 and the town of Greenfield took the building due to unpaid back taxes. In 2000, the local government was seeking a theater operator to re-open the facility. Three people submitted bids and Gohl was selected by the town to run the cinemas.

"Ron Goldstein paid his back taxes but allowed me to keep operating the movie theater," said Gohl. "In 2007, he offered to sell me the building and the following year we bought it."

Other companies have pitched on-line discount plans to Gohl, but Dealflicks, though a start-up, was his choice. "This is a better business proposition for me," said George, "than the other companies offered. Dealflicks is helping us increase our income during off-times such as matinees and Mondays through Thursdays, which sometimes can be lightly attended.

"Dealflicks does limit deals that the consumer can purchase for any show. There’s a certain number of Dealflicks tickets set aside for each showtime. When those are sold out, they will stop selling tickets for that showing. Big event movies such as ‘Dark Knight Rises’ may not have any deals for the first week or two. But a movie like ‘Brave,’ which though popular, has been out for a couple of weeks and will offer deals, perhaps for all show times."

Customers pay Dealflicks and the latter will pay the Greenfield Garden Cinemas minus a 10 percent brokerage fee. The California organization also charges the theater credit card handling fees.

For more info on obtaining discounted tickets for the Greenfield cinemas, please visit the website


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