On the Cover

Corrections or additions?

This article was prepared for the September 22, 2004

issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Between the Lines

When the big national companies come to town, everybody

tends to get anxious about the welfare of the smaller

firms. That happened in the grocery business when people

thought the arrival of Wild Oats on Nassau Street would

wipe out Whole Earth (it didn’t happen), and then again

when Wegmans came in as a potential threat to McCaffrey’s

(McCaffrey’s is still in located in both the Princeton

Shopping Center and the Southfield Center on Route 571).

This month Wild Oats is supposedly vulnerable. Whole

Foods, the subject of Pat Tanner’s story beginning on page

43, is more than four times as big as Wild Oats. Both

cater to the health conscious. When you shop there you

know you are not ingesting the hydrogenated, or

partially-hydrogenated, fats that could be harmful to your

arteries.

Another big firm slated to arrive in Trenton is Manex, the

film production company. But as Mercer County Community

College features Manex at its annual entertainment

conference, that company is suffering from long-term

financial troubles (see page 6).

One long-time reader, Claudia Kienzle, questions whether

the business model of Manex will benefit – or harm – this

community. Her company, Television Ideas and Software, is

located at 225 Elizabeth Avenue in Hamilton. She covers

the television and movie industry for TV Technology

magazine and Post Magazine, among others. Her husband,

Andy Kienzle, is president of the Princeton Media

Communications Association. Her letter:

Star Struck or Savvy?

AFTER READING the coverage about Manex coming to Trenton,

I’m concerned that the way Manex has been stringing Mercer

County along will have dire financial consequences for us.

There are already many movie rental companies on the East

Coast, quite a few within an hour of Trenton that are well

positioned to provide movie production equipment, as well

as movie finishing services like telecine, color

correction, special effects, and editing.

These companies will tell you production budgets are

tighter than ever and there are too many facilities

chasing too few projects. They end up competing on price,

making it a very high-pressure, low-margin business.

Considering that Manex already has a huge debt burden,

where is the capital to ensure that the Trenton venture

has a competitive edge when they go up against those

successful, established facilities in our region?

The projection that Manex will create 500 to 700 jobs in

Trenton sounds preposterous, considering what I know

staffing levels to be for comparable facilities.

I wouldn’t be surprised if once Manex gets here, it turns

around and fills our Trenton jobs with people from New

York and Hollywood, because those workers already have the

specialized skills and track record that would make

Trenton studios more attractive to prospective filmmakers.

If we don’t replace star-struck with savvy, this story is

going to have a very sad ending.

Claudia Kienzle

Top Of Page
On the Cover

Gabriella Rea (upper left) performs at the Italian

American Festival in Mercer County Park on Saturday,

September 25 at 6 p.m., and Sunday, September 26, at 7:30

p.m. Our day-by-day events begin on page 15.


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