Roselle Park Theatre: The Show Goes On

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Published: August 8, 2014 @ 6:00 AM EST

Just to make things perfectly clear, Jared Pietz and Joe Shirley are not asking for people to just give them $90,000 in free money for their business.

Not that they will refuse anyone if someone chooses to do so, but that misconception stemmed from a response to a question about the status of the re-opening of the Roselle Park Theatre. For a moment, things got caught up in the guys defending the dissection of their words instead of advocating their project. They are now back on track to answer any questions from residents and other interested parties about the status of the project.

To bring up to speed, Jared and Joe are currently working on getting finance they believed they had secured, only to find out that the promise of funds was a lie.

Now, instead of starting work on the remodelling and refurbishing and re-establishing of Roselle Park Theatre, they find themselves looking for financing in order to get back on track.

“These are the obstacles you go through,” said Joe about the status of the project, “But getting past them is part of the success.”

The well-laid plans to finance the project came to a halt last month when an investor who had guaranteed the project for $300,000, not only backed out at the last minute but also was discovered- as was recounted by Jared and Joe – have forged documents that show that the money was secured. Making matters worse was that it was a relative who ended up manipulating them out of money by asking for loans against the promise that funding was forthcoming. After the revelation, the family member up and left town, not returning calls.

Back to square one, but now the clock is ticking. Using the time they had between the start of the project and now, Jared and Joseph had been reaching out to contractors and businesses to be ready to start work in July when the money would become available. When the news came in, it hit hard.

“We went from 100 to zero in an instant. There was a time right after that we thought, this is bad,” Jared recalled, “But we knew we had to keep going. Giving up would be easy and a lot of people would understand if we did, but giving up would mean the theatre and the town weren’t worth it. We know they are.”

They picked themselves up. They went through their business plan again with a detail on being as efficient as possible. Joe stated, “We had already been lean to start with but we needed to give it another look to make sure we planned everything down to the penny. We know we have that done but, right now, the clock is ticking. Things are are in place and ready to go.”

Joe and Jared then went to professional lending institutions and banks. They finally found one that would provide the all-in-one service they needed in order allow them to run the theatre with a support system to handle everything from accounting to filings. They were notified they needed to have 30% of the investment in order to be eligible for a business loan for the $300,000 they originally thought they had.

So now they are looking for investors, backers, supporters, and yes, even a donation or two, in order to come up with $90,000. Taking all they have, Jared and Joe know they have a portion of that money on their own, but, learning from counting on a sure thing, they want to use those funds for any emergency that might arise during the project that was not planned for in their business plan.

Jared said, “It’s this last bit we need to get back on schedule.”

They discussed other options, such as becoming a non-profit, but that would take time to establish, and time is of the essence. They are looking for investors, not a partner per se at the moment, but someone or a group who will provide funds for a suitable financial return once the theatre opens.

“With the donations we asked, we know who donated and once the funding is in place, we will reach out to those people to offer something in return for their generosity,” Joe stated, “Right now, we need to get the loan in place to move forward.”

The guys know that they have their supporters as well as nay-sayers and even those who may want to take advantage of their situation. But they keep their focus on that night when the doors open to Roselle Park Theatre and even beyond then; to a time when families, teens, younger children, couples, and moviegoers can have a place in town to go and just have something they can enjoy for years to come.

Jared remarked, “It may sound corny but, we really want Roselle Park to have something that they can see as not only a piece of history, but also something they can look forward to.”

“He’s 100% right,” Joe said, reiterating that the theatre is a business but that it also is a labor of love, “In the end, we both love Roselle Park and want to see it succeed. Our roots are here. As young people, we know this would be something for young kids and families to be able to do in town. Parents would know their kids were safe, and everyone could walk to the movies if they wanted to.”

Not giving themselves a rest, they have been going around, looking for the financing. Even at National Night Out, before the fireworks show, Joe could be seen walking around and letting people know about the theatre and the current status. He answered questions with the business plan in hand; open to questions, suggestions, recommendations, comments, and observations.

Anyone interested in finding out more information or willing to invest or donate can reach out to Jared at (908) 414-0733 or Joe at (908) 868-1393. People can also visit their GoFundMe page (link).