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Unadilla Drive-In: One of Many for Sale Across Nation

This is a recurring recording of WBNG's 5pm Newscast.
Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 6:54 PM EST
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UNADILLA, N.Y. (WBNG) -- Drive-In movie theaters appeared to be thriving during the height of the COVID-19 lock down. However, President of the United Drive-I Theater Owners Association, John Vincent says that was not always the case.

“There’s a lot of missed numbers out there that the drive-ins did fantastic, but there’s a lot of things that offset that. There were no new movies, there were capacity restrictions; my drive and was about 45% restricted capacity because we had to have every other space. There was serious operational challenges. The snack bar, where we actually make money, we couldn’t do the volume feeding that we are used to doing”.

For Vincent, and his Cape Cod Based Drive-In, the past Summer seasons with COVID restrictions were not the best. “Truth be told, at my drive-in, the last two summers were not great; in fact, they were some of the worst I’ve seen since 1987″.

To own a drive-in, one must have it done right. “Even drive-ins need to be done correctly. The projector needs to be sized correctly, color corrected, you know all these things need to be done correctly for it to be a great experience. That being said, the pop-ups did fill some need for people to get out of the house, but aside from that nothing beats experience at a real drive in”.

Vincent says right now across the country, many of those who owned drive-in’s are retiring. Similar to the Wilson family, who owned an operated the Unadilla Drive-In for 27 years; now it’s up for sale. According to their Facebook page, the owners are looking for buyers to keep the business open. Vincent says he’s enjoyed every minute of his own Massachusetts Drive-In.

“There’s nothing like seeing smiles on the customers faces when you open in the summer, you know the kids are in their pajamas, it’s just such a positive business to be in”. For now, Vincent says the best thing to do is support local...

”A lot of (people) ask ‘what can I do to keep my local drive-in around for yours to come?’ well the number one thing is: attend, go see a movie”

For more information on the Unadilla Drive-In, you can visit their Facebook page here.

For more information on John Vincent and UDITOA, you can visit their website here.