Tag Archives: AMC Theatres

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Harkins marketing duo forms Syndicate PR

Bryan Laurel and Melissa Rich, the two top-ranking marketing executives at Harkins Theatres, left the theatre chain to form their own PR firm – Syndicate Public Relations. Additionally, Laurel and Rich are proud to announce they will handle all publicity efforts for the Scottsdale International Film Festival, which celebrates its 13th year in October.

Syndicate PR specializes in public relations strategy and execution, promotional and strategic marketing and special events including product launches and fundraisers.  While working with retailers, businesses and charitable organizations, Syndicate PR will capitalize upon recent successes by working with motion picture distributors and independent filmmakers.

Laurel left his post as Director of Marketing in early January after 15 years with the company. His previous experience includes marketing roles for such brands as Apple Computer, Inc., General Electric, Dillard’s Box Office and AMC Theatres. Laurel spent much of his career at Harkins managing a well-rounded marketing team, executing high-profile promotions and cultivating relationships with valley media and executives at Hollywood motion picture studios.

Rich landed at Harkins in 2004 after building her career within several local full-service advertising agencies and ABC News in Washington D.C. Prior to her departure in February, Rich oversaw Harkins’ community relations program and in-kind partnerships with local charities generating more than $2 million in in-kind donations annually.

Together, Laurel and Rich created hundreds of motion picture promotions with major Hollywood studios and helped the company double in size via marketing campaigns for 18 new theatres in the Phoenix-metro area, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado and California.  They also spearheaded the successful effort to bring the world premiere of 20th Century Fox’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine to their theatre at Tempe Marketplace in 2009. The event attracted thousands of moviegoers, hundreds of national and international media entities and hosted Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds, Liev Schreiber and Will.i.am. as well as Valley-based celebrities.

“I had a great experience with Harkins. Giving fifteen years of my life to the company was easy when working for a man like Dan Harkins.  Melissa and I accomplished all we wanted to and now we’re taking our unique skills from the motion picture industry to a new world of clients” said Bryan Laurel, Principal at Syndicate PR.

“Bryan and I work together so well and this partnership made perfect sense for us as a next logical step upon leaving our corporate lives,” said Melissa Rich, Syndicate PR Principal. “I am extremely grateful for all of the opportunities I was given at Harkins Theatres, and I’m excited to showcase our expertise in new areas.”

Westgate Entertainment District

Generating Big Business out West

Nearly all retailers and restaurateurs will tell you that the key to having a successful business is largely based on the old adage – location, location, location.

For several national entertainment and restaurant brands with Valley-wide locations, revenue figures indicate that the West Valley now ranks number one in market share, with their top-producing stores at Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale.

The bolstering of year-over-year revenue figures for nearly all of the big-name tenants at Westgate is largely attributed to the support of iStar Financial, who took ownership of Westgate Entertainment District in September of 2011. More than $300,000 in improvements and beautification have been made to Westgate’s common areas over the past year. Additionally, a strong focus has been placed on a better targeted and promoted events schedule, the hiring of Vestar to aggressively market and manage the property and the engagement with tenants to refocus their marketing and promotional efforts.

“By far, my most profitable store in Arizona is at Westgate,” said Rip Riva, owner of Johnny Rockets and JR Burger Grill, who has four other Valley locations of the popular all-American restaurant, including Scottsdale Fashion Square, Shops at Norterra, Arrowhead and Gateway Pavilion in Avondale. “I’ve been in the restaurant business for 40 years and have owned more than 30 different franchise restaurants. There’s now a synergy at Westgate that you can’t find anywhere else. With all of the events taking place, we’re seeing a constant increase in new customers. In the past few months, there is a new feeling, a new look and a new attitude. I’ve been at Westgate since the beginning and I just extended my lease another five years.”

Similarly, AMC Theatres at Westgate, which is the largest AMC in the state featuring 20 screens and an IMAX, is the top revenue producing AMC Theatres in Arizona. Yard House, with three Arizona locations, notes Westgate as its biggest revenue generating restaurant in the state. And, Saddle Ranch Chop House, with one location in Old Town Scottsdale and the other at Westgate, cites Glendale as its top-producing restaurant.

“The West Valley is a big market for us,” said Jeff Hall, owner of Which Wich at Westgate. “Westgate is our cornerstone location and our success there has allowed us to expand to other parts of the state including Tucson and two soon-to-open locations in the East Valley. We’ve seen about a 15 percent increase to our top-line revenue over last year. Between the concerts, on-site and nearby sporting events, movie theatre and very loyal office lunch crowd, there’s a formula there that just works.”

In September, Just Sports expanded their Westgate location, adding an additional 1,000 square feet to the existing 2,000 square feet, making it the company’s flagship location. Their Glendale location is their highest producing store among 18 stores on the West Coast.

Westgate Entertainment District encompasses more than 25 restaurants, retailers and entertainment venues including Yard House, The Shout! House, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, Kabuki Japanese Restaurant, Johnny Rockets, Which Wich and AMC Theatres. More than 250 events take place a year ranging from live music every Friday and Saturday night at Fountain Park to Bike Nights, Radio Disney Wednesdays, a holiday ice rink and fan experience events.

Westgate is anchored by Jobing.com Arena, home to the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes, headlining concerts and major events, and is adjacent to the University of Phoenix Stadium, home to the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.

For more information about Westgate Entertainment District and a retailer directory, visit www.westgatecitycenter.com.