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
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.
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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