May 25, 2008

Saving Photos of Bonita Springs For History

bonita springs movie theater

Muvico vs. Regal What if they both lose?

Years ago, long before I became a spinster, I raised my kids in Bonita Springs, Florida. I recall the day The Prado shopping center was built and the day the new movie theater came to town. Regal Cinema opened it's doors and most Friday and Saturday night were divvied up between a few neighborhood moms for carpooling young bodies to and from the official Bonita Springs *hot* spot. The plaza and the theater was THE place to be. I remember so many people, kids, parents in the alcoves that more than a few sheriff deputy's would hang around just to have a presence.

It hadn't occurred to me that less than a decade later there would be a slower economy, southwest Florida would actually be affected by it and the Regal Cinema would not have lines on a Friday night. I stopped in to the Regal Friday night to see the Indiana Jones movie and was greeted by only two people in line. I remember dropping people off to get in line for tickets while I parked the car because the line was so long. Those were the days. I remember packed theaters, too. These day's it's a miracle if there are more than 10-15 people watching a motion picture in each theater venue.

Many businesses in Bonita Springs, a couple of which are in the Prado Plaza, have collapsed. The Quiznos sandwich store closed, in spite of the valiant efforts of the owners to keep the doors open. Quiznos will now try to find another sucker taker to hop on board and begin their bleed out. That's how franchise ownership works. The same thing happened with Cilantro Tamales. The first owners closed the store and a new owner was found, that only managed to keep the doors open for a few short months. Wonder when Cilantro Tamales Inc. will find their third mark. It's a sad state of affairs that some of our local businesses have found themselves in.

Marmadukes are on every corner on Tamiami Trail these days. What's a Marmaduke? It's a guy in a long sleeve shirt, ball cap, wearing an iPod, twirling a sign. The signs advertise real estate for sale, real estate auctions, rug sales, going out of business sales, end of season sales and open restaurants. They advertise they are open so you will entertain the idea of spending any spare cash you might have in their establishments.

I don't have an answer or a solution to this predicament. I'm just bothered by it. I'm not an economist I sell Bonita Springs real estate. My business and where I choose to spend my money is kept in Bonita Springs. Heck, I just crashed my car and made sure the body shop I picked was in Bonita Springs, not Fort Myers, not Naples. Maybe if we collectively spent our money with purpose we can keep our town together, our businesses open and our kids from being trapped in minimum wage jobs because they're slaves of the franchise employment machines.

On a side note, save your cash and skip Indy Jones. George Lucas jumped the shark on that one.

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