River City Six: Tyler Calabrese
Located at 12750 Westport Pkwy in La Vista, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (www.drafthouse.com/omaha) offers an experience that’s second-to-none. Tyler Calabrese is Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s Franchise Principle for the Omaha Market.
Tell us a little about your business. – Cold beer, hot movies, and delicious snacks and meals; The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is dinner, drinks, movies and events, all under one roof. Our attention to detail in film presentation and programming has made us a second home to movie fans all over the planet and earned accolades from the likes of Entertainment Weekly (#1 theater in America), Wired.com (Coolest Movie Theater in the World) and Fandango.com (One of the Best Theaters in the Country).
How did you get started in the business? – I started early in business with the intention to open a restaurant in Sarpy County. Through conversations with my partner and an extensive analysis of our market, we identified a need for true, LOCAL, entertainment. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has been a trendsetter in the industry, which drew our attention to the concept and their franchising opportunities.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally? – The age at which I started my business career; however, not in the sense you would imagine. Respect wasn’t an issue, as I don’t believe your age determines the amount of respect you earn from an individual. The challenge I’ve faced is trying to coordinate a workforce – all with many years in the industry – when I’ve been around for less time than many of them. The key to my success in this regard is to truly value, engage, and rely on my employees. I hired a very experienced management team – all with more experience than myself – and I allow them to be independent and operate using their knowledge and proficiencies they have obtained over the years.
Tell us a little about your family. – I was born in Bellevue, NE at the Base Hospital and spent my whole life growing up in Sarpy County, graduating from the Papillion La Vista School District. My father is a retired Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and my mother is a finance director here in Omaha. I have four brothers and I am the middle child. My family is extremely important to me and I try to balance my professional and personal life accordingly.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life? – The day I first saw the walls going up on our building in La Vista. In 2012 I identified a partner who invested in me personally and professionally. I spent three years negotiating, planning, designing, etc. We started construction in November of 2014 and on April 1st, 2015 our first wall went up. By the end of the week what we spent years conceiving was completely boxed in. This is when I truly realized the magnitude of the project at hand. I was 22 years old, and I didn’t admit it at the time but I was in WAY over my head! I really had to take a step back and identify my strengths and weaknesses, and build our management team in a way to supplement those.
What are you the most proud of? – I’m extremely proud to call Omaha home. To be able to open and operate a business where I grew up is truly humbling. I love where I come from and I love what I do. I hope we can continue to have a positive impact in our community and look forward to the years to come.
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