Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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July 5, 2014

Schulman’s theater will be a work in progress

Corsicana — Sit down with Mark Schulman and you learn a few things. He’s a proud Aggie, his family history is steeped in the movie theater business, and he’s thrilled to be here.

Schulman Amusement Company closed on the purchase of the Cinergy Cinemas at I-45 and U.S. 287 a week ago, and already the changes are taking place. Major sign work and a number of upgrades are still coming for Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille, including the eventual construction of a bowling center and the restaurant revamping.

“We’re so excited to be in Corsicana,” Schulman said Thursday, taking a break between visiting with his management team at the new location, looking at tweaks here, improvements there.

“It’s a great community with a lot of things happening,” he added.

The staff was retained, and Schulman and his corporate staff have been and will continue to be in town overseeing changes and improvements. The restaurant will be Phase 2, he said.

Phase 1 was acquiring the movie theater, now four years old.

Schulman was in talks with the city before Cinergy, but things didn’t work out. In a twist of fate, of sorts, he began talking to Cinergy co-owner Jeff Benson in late February.

“It takes a long time to do a deal with an Aggie,” he laughed.

The Schulman family started in the movie business in 1908, and owns four theaters across the state. Mark sold popcorn on a stool at 5, and was running a projector at 10.

Schulman Amusement Company is Mark’s own fledgling company, and Corsicana’s Movie Bowl Grille its first location. There is another in the works.

“Opportunity,” is how Schulman summed up Corsicana. “We’re not trying to acquire sites, this one just fit our model.”

The quick transition from first talk in February to closing in June was a tribute to a number of folks, including Connie Standridge and Bill King with the city, Schulman said, and title lawyer Barbara Moe. He also praised Jerry Bauer, a co-owner of Cinergy and one of the original developers of the area where the theater now sits.

It’s also been an easy transition at the theater, Schulman said.

“We’re really interested in people, not buildings,” he said. “... This is the smoothest transition I think I have ever been involved with. That’s a compliment to the team here, and the team we have.”

The food quality will be better than usually expected for a theater, he assured, and the restaurant will be separate from the entertainment. Schulman and his team are still mapping out where the bowling center — with meeting and party room — will eventually be constructed. It will be a non-alcoholic facility until licensing is obtained.

The full transition signage-wise to Schulman’s could take up to 45 days, he said.

“You don’t want to start (the sign) process until everyone signs on the dotted line,” he said with a smile.

In the meantime, the theater will continue to honor Cinergy passes already in the hands of customers. Mobile apps and online ticket purchasing are coming soon.

Schulman’s will also help out in the community, doing things such as a canned food drive during the holidays, and a nominal fee summer program in which all of the ticket costs — somewhere in the 50 cent to a dollar range — will go to local charities, Schulman said.

“We want the public to know we’re here to serve them,” he said. “Anything we can do to make a stay or visit better, let us know.”

—————

Raymond Linex II may be reached by email at rlinex@corsicanadailysun.com

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