MANISTEE, MICHIGAN – When over 730 individuals and organizations contributed financially and more than 350 people volunteered to support the revitalization of the Historic Vogue Theatre of Manistee, there was an assumption that the Theatre would be a game changer for the community.    In addition to establishing a world class movie theatre with two screens, many believed it would support the revitalization of downtown, improved revenues for downtown businesses and serve as an attraction for more businesses to locate in Manistee.

A group of Baker College students under the tutelage of instructor Adam Hatchew set out to determine just how much the Vogue Theatre, now open for nearly three years, has changed the Manistee community.

“This was a great service to the Board of Directors that oversees Theatre operations and to the community as a whole who have given so much to make the Theatre a reality,” said Steve Brower, Treasurer of the Board of Directors for the Historic Vogue Theatre of Manistee.   “We know that the Theatre has been profitable every month since opening in December 2013.   We also know that it has generated over $1 million in revenues with over 200,000 movie goers.  But we really had no clear evidence of the ripple effect of the Theatre on the overall community.”

The Baker College Cadillac students completed a public survey of 678 individuals, a survey of 11 business and a review of available data to reach their conclusions.

“Based on the results of the student project, it looks like the Vogue has met or exceeded the hopes and aspirations of those who participated in its rebirth,”  said Hatchew.    Specific results were:

*   Nearly 60% of those surveyed had seen a movie at the Vogue over 10 times.
*   95% said that they would return to the Vogue to enjoy the entertainment experience.
*   Almost 70% said that the high quality of the audio and video at the Theatre improved their experience.
*   100% of the businesses surveyed said the Vogue has positively impacted downtown businesses.
*   About 75% said the Vogue had directly influenced a sales increase or had other positive impacts on their business with about 60% of the businesses reported increased revenues of 7.5% or more.

Survey respondents also provided a number of recommendations, including:

*   -More movies later in the day.
*   -More heated foods in the concession area.
*   -More child friendly movies.
*   -Headphones for the hearing impaired.
*   -More use of social media for advertising.
*   -And, yes, buttered popcorn!

“This is a great win-win for Manistee and the Theatre but also for Baker College and our students,” said Baker College Cadillac president Kelly Smith.   “Using the real world as our theme and text provides an extraordinary learning experience and moves our students closer toward our primary goal – ensuring they end up in a satisfying and successful career.  Hats off to the Vogue Theatre!”