Last night’s Mayor and Aldermen Meeting was a prime example of what we get when we don’t put any energy into who we elect and put into office. We have a bad case of the blind leading the blind! Our Mayor “wanna be weather man” and the merry band of baffoons (with the exception of Pat Hamilton and Don Tullos) laughed as the citizens pleaded for them to make the right decision about this second movie theater. The Mayor made a point to preface the meeting with, “we had 4 public hearings and no one opposed this theater at this sight”! He also believes that an ad in the DeSoto Times Tribune and mailing out letters to 15 out of 33,000 residents is sufficient notice of a public hearing. Sorry but that “newspaper” hardly counts in my book as an actual media source. We have people in office because we elect them to be there and WHY?!… Because they go to our church, they have lived here a really long time, they seem like a nice person or because of pure lack of interest in actually interviewing the person who will be working for you!!!?? When will the madness stop? This same group of misfits then goes on to appoint our planning commission. We have a planning commission composed of “really nice people” but only 1 that actually has real estate knowledge and credentials. Don’t think the local hotdog salesman and ice cream man (slightly exaggerated but you get the point) is who we need making big decisions about the planning and development of Olive Branch. But HEY…that’s how it has always been done.
Thanks to these wonderful people we will now be pawns in the middle of a battle between Mr. Keshani and Malco Movies. Mr. Keshani loves to mess with Malco and is doing a great job of trying by “supposedly” building theaters directly across the street from them in various cities. Although the industry standard is 1 movie theater per 70,000-80,000 people and not within at least 6-7 miles of another movie theater, our leaders seems to be so egotistical to think that Olive Branch, with a population of 33,000 and within 5 miles of the Malco theater in Southaven, will be the exception to this rule. NOWHERE else in the country has a situation like this, but that’s probably because those cities don’t let businesses bully them, and they might actually have educated planning commissioners. What will happen if 1 of the 2 movie theaters goes out of business……..we will be left with 1 massive 35,000 sq. ft. building-VACANT- that you will not be able to convert into another business with any ease. One perfect example is of the 11 screen theater in Oxford, MS that thought they would be the exception to the rule. That theater has now been vacant for over 5 years AND no other businesses want to come in around it. Successful businesses do not want to build next to a massive albatross left VACANT.
Another point worth mentioning, because we will have 2 first run movie theaters so close together, the theaters will not have the same movies. For example, if Beauty and the Beast 3D comes out the same time as Twilight Part 5, Malco may get Beauty and the Beast and Keshani would get Twilight. This takes the choice of theater away from the citizens if they plan on seeing a movie in our city. I know a lot of people who go to the movies with their preteen and teenage children. The parents go to one movie and the kids see a different one. In this situation, this option may not be possible depending on what movies they all are trying to see. The movies may not be showing at the same theater. Secondly, Keshani does not always take credit or debit cards…CASH ONLY! Worth mentioning that he has been in trouble financially many times over for not reporting all ticket sales, hence the CASH ONLY rule! Doesn’t this situation sound better and better?!
There is so much more to this story than just some citizens upset about a movie theater in their backyard. It is very important for many reasons. It shows a failure of leadership by our elected officials. It shows the “good ole boy system” is in full effect, alive and well! It shows that we need people in place with actual experience, and I assure you length of residency in a city does not qualify you for the job. If one of these businesses goes out of business it will most definitely negatively impact property values in our city. This whole situation has turned off other businesses from coming into the city. When you have a financially sound business with 100 years of experience coming in to spend 9 million dollars and we, as a city, do not support that business…..why would they or anyone else want to bring their business here?! There are certain businesses that cannot be located that close together without negatively impacting the area it’s in……hospitals, indoor shopping malls, amusement parks, water parks AND movie theaters. I say shame on all of the people that contributed to where we are now. Hopefully Mr. Keshani will get tires of this game and move on along. Oh and let me not forget to also say that Keshani is looking at property in Southaven to put in a theater within a mile of the Malco there. Why is that important to OB and the county? That would mean we would have 4 first run movie theaters within a 6 mile radius. Keep in mind that Memphis and Nashville both have about 650,000 people, and they only have about 7 or 8 movie theaters. So we think OB could handle 2 with 2 more in Shaven and a total of around 164,000 people. DO THE MATH!! It does not add up! Nothing in this county ever does though as sad as it may be. It is the truth!
Thanks goes out to Pat Hamilton and Don Tullos for not falling victim to all of this craziness, for being so outspoken against this theater and the shenanigans that have come along with it and for listening to the people they represent. That’s all anyone could ask for, and it was greatly appreciated!!!!


2 thoughts on “Olive Branch Mayor and Aldermen Approve Theater and FAIL Citizens

  1. You have to be kidding me! My wife and I have constantly been opposed to even a second Malco Theater in Olive Branch. Of course you never know when there is a public hearing. If there is anything we can do to protest this plan, please let me know.

    • This situation is pretty much a done deal as of now. I, honestly, do not think we have anything to worry about. I think Malco has held up on building because of the shenanigans. Keshani and Cinema 10 are appealing the Aldermen’s decision to deny a theater across from Target. Keshani will make it difficult, and he has been looking at property in Southaven as well. All I hope is that we the people do not get hurt by the bad decisions of our city leaders or 2 business rivals fighting on our turf.

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