I bet this precise conversation happened 1,522 times here in Gainesville this summer:
“Have you seen the new Avengers movie yet? It’s great!”
“Nah, I just haven’t gotten around to it yet, but I plan to.”
“When you see it, make sure you go to the new theatre – it’s awesome!”
“Oh yeah? Ok, I’ll check it out!”
Other than a slowly degrading mall, we’ve never had much shopping in Gainesville. There have been rumors of a new Town Center circulating for years, but they’ve finally started building it and the buzz is building.
We all thought a Town Center was a good idea, but we weren’t sure where they would build it.
All the options seemed pretty bad because there just wasn’t space for a big development anywhere in the city. They would have to build somewhere on the outskirts of town, so people would have to drive a bit to get to it.
This is sort of a Catch-22: How do you build a big shopping center over several years if nobody is willing to drive that far to shop?
For starters, you would build at least one or two things worth driving to and use those things as anchors while the other things get built.
What would you build first?
In Gainesville, the answer was a fancy new movie theatre: a 10-screen Regal RPX theatre with comfy reclining chairs, huge screens, and great audio. It’s the first new theatre here in over 20 years and it’s lightyears ahead of our other theaters.
It didn’t take very long for all of my friends to find it and recommend it—now it’s our go-to theatre because it’s so much better than the others.
I’ve been out to “Celebration Pointe” (with a silent ‘e’ so you know it’s fancy!) several times to see new movies, but there was no way I would’ve gone out there to buy clothes or eat dinner.
But now they’re starting to open other shops around the theatre and I’m already acclimated to driving out to Celebration Pointe so it’s no big deal to drive out to shop or just hang out in the common areas.
Last week, some friends and I drove 15 minutes to get ice cream at Kilwins and then hung out and talked in a pergola for a couple hours. We never would’ve done that if they hadn’t been so intentional by opening the movie theatre first.
The big picture and overall vision matter, but so do the individual steps you take to implement your plan.