Q&A with Galaxy Theatres CEO Frank Rimkus
Galaxy Theatres is a fully-integrated movie theatre company. Privately owned, it is ranked by size in the top 8% of its industry and currently has theatres in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas and Washington. As Galaxy’s theatres re-opened this election season, VoteRiders’ Public Service Announcements (PSAs) ran on screen before each show.
Frank J. Rimkus is Galaxy’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He co-founded Galaxy in 1998. His professional background encompasses over 30 years in real estate and investment banking experience. From 1983-1995 he was affiliated with Winthrop Financial Associates, a privately owned national real estate company ($6.5 billion in assets) serving as Partner and Managing Director from 1985-95. Mr. Rimkus is currently a member of the Owners Committee, National Association of Theatre Owners and serves on the Board of Directors of the Association’s California/Nevada Chapter.
The following is an interview of Mr. Rimkus by VoteRiders’ Board of Directors Member, Stephen A. Unger.
SAU: Why did you decide to run the VoteRiders Public Service Announcements (PSAs) in your theatres?
FJR: The mission of VoteRiders and its message is important to everyone. Time is critical. I thought What’s the best way I can support VoteRiders?
Our theatres serve millions of movie guests in our theatres each year. Free from outside distractions (save a few cell phones) theatre guests are relaxed and more receptive to information…and entertainment.
Running the VoteRiders PSAs on-screen in our theatres before each show, I feel, is the most effective resource I have available that captures the attention of so many people in a positive way. Galaxy is honored to volunteer our resources in support of VoteRiders and the many dedicated volunteers enthusiastically supporting the effort.
SAU: Galaxy Theatres has a stated philosophy “more than just a theatre.” What does that mean in practice?
FJR: Philosophically and operationally, we at Galaxy Theatres consider ourselves social entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurialism, loosely defined, applies business practices to address community-based social values in a way that, together, can improve the lives of both the consumers and the entrepreneur — profitably. In Galaxy’s case, we focus on delivering an exceptional entertainment experience that adds to the quality of everyday life for the people in the communities we serve. We do this every day by taking a detailed, thoughtful, and serious approach to a common social activity — movie going. Galaxy enjoys a reputation for delivering a high impact, first class, friendly, and immersive movie entertainment experience.
SAU: How did you hear about VoteRiders and what drew you to it?
FJR: I was made aware of VoteRiders through a close friend who, because they knew of Galaxy Theatres’ community service philosophy, thought I could be of assistance. After learning more about the organization and its founder, it became obvious that VoteRiders’ goals naturally aligned with Galaxy’s philosophy and we should offer our support.
SAU: What is it about VoteRiders that resonates with you?
FJR: Without question, I believe VoteRiders is addressing one of the most fundamental rights Americans have…the right to vote. The organization, under the leadership of Kathleen Unger, is well-organized, high-energy, and works to ensure that all eligible citizens are able to exercise their right to vote. Critically important, VoteRiders is purposely structured to be non-partisan and not-for-profit. Why is that important to me? It eliminates all conflicts of interest. Along with the boundless commitment of so many VoteRiders volunteers, we resoundingly endorse and support the organization and its purpose.
SAU: When and how will you show VoteRiders’ PSAs on your screens?
FJR: As our theatres reopen, each VoteRiders PSA will appear on-screen before every show, in all auditoriums, in each of our theatres. As part of each theatre’s pre-show, all total, these animated images were screened before audiences over 400 times daily (2,800 per week) in each of our locations leading up to November 3rd.
SAU: Besides showing movies, what other things go on in your theatres?
FJR: We like to say, “we’re more than just a movie.” Each of our theatre general managers is asked to identify a local charitable or service organization (one they can personally believe in) and join it. This builds our awareness of each community’s personality (our term). Over time we find how best to support numerous social and charitable local causes. Company-wide, we are a strong supporter of education. We are often actively involved with schools in our areas to support special education needs, interactive educational programs for all ages in our theatres, and more. In particular, we collaborate with teachers in the science/engineering community regarding STEM programs. We are especially proud of our association with NASA. Thanks to their robust emphasis on education and the power of their technology, Galaxy has been able to host two live NASA Q&A video conference call events between over 1,200 students in our theatres and the astronauts in the International Space Station. (We’re working on a third.)
SAU: You seem to have a Midas touch – from being a partner of a multi-billion-dollar real estate and investment banking company to being the leader of one of the most successful movie theatre chains in the country. To what do you attribute this?
FJR: The tremendous contributions of so many talented, enthusiastic people with whom I have the privilege of working.