Biz Buzz: Softer seats, harder beverages

A VIP auditorium reserved for moviegoers age 21 and older will feature plusher seats and alcohol sales as part of Atascadero’s new Galaxy Theatres now being built in the long-awaited Colony Square project downtown.

Most specifics on the special auditorium planned for one of the theater’s 10 screens aren’t finalized yet, but patrons will pay a surcharge per ticket at the box office to get in.

“We do find the VIP area is quite popular,” said Frank Rimkus, Galaxy Theatres’ chairman and chief executive officer. “But every market has their own sensitivities, so we want to match it to what the community wants.”

Rimkus plans to visit Atascadero this month to work with community leaders to determine what specific VIP elements fit with the North County.

Auditorium capacity, food service and the possibility of a lounge with tables are among the details for those talks, he said.

The Sherman Oaks-based company has its first and only VIP screen format operating in Gig Harbor, Wash., with several other sites in the works.

What’s certain so far in Atascadero is that admission tickets to the VIP screen would be first come, first served, Rimkus said, and available to individuals and private parties.

Guests will walk through the main theater lobby to get to the screen room, which is to have its own lobby, personal servers and an attendee to check identification cards to verify everyone is age 21 and older.

Beer and wine will be served by the glass, Rimkus said, with a focus on local offerings.

Galaxy Theatres’ application for a liquor license for the sale of beer and wine is now pending with the state.

The special screen will also show first-run movies, Rimkus said, ranging from action, to comedies to dramas.

“When ‘Sex and the City’ was on we showed it in a VIP auditorium and made it a fun event,” Rimkus said.

VIP admission tickets in Gig Harbor range from $13 to $15 per person, according to Galaxy’s website, while its regular screens ranged from $7.75 to $10 for adults.

Rimkus emphasized that every market is different, though, and that prices in one place may not reflect the prices in another.

— Tonya Strickland

Osos child care center gets grant

The Program for Infant and Toddler Care has awarded the Los Osos Early Care and Education Center $24,000 for equipment, mentorship, and 18 months of advanced training in infant and toddler care.

The center’s 10 care providers are participating in the training, which is funded through the state Department of Education and developed through a collaboration between the agency and the education research nonprofit group WestEd.

Founded in 2008, Los Osos Early Care and Education Center serves 50 children ages six months to six years. The center had to apply for the funding and is the only organization in San Luis Obispo County to receive it so far.

— Julia Hickey