Shankweiler’s Is For Sale

The oldest active drive-in theater, probably the second commercial drive-in ever, is for sale. Owners Paul and Susan Geissinger say the asking price for Shankweiler’s Drive-In Theatre is $1.2 million. The Orefield PA landmark is in great shape by all accounts, but the Geissingers want to retire.

I was virtually there less than a month ago during the final week of my 2017 Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey, so its history is fresh on my mind. You can read more in that post, but the most relevant part is that the Geissingers bought the place around 1984 and have been running it ever since.

The Morning Call of Allentown wrote that the couple “actually put the property up for sale in 2015, but it was relisted last week after their real estate agent joined a new company, Paul Geissinger said Wednesday.” They want to clear enough to retire comfortably, and although they’d prefer that the drive-in would stay open, they’ll sell to the highest bidder. The current plan is for a normal operating season in 2018. I’ve embedded a YouTube video of an interview with Paul Geissinger posted just a few months ago.

The Morning Call wrote, “The Geissingers have received a few offers, Paul said, but not at the price he was looking for.” Whenever I read about any real estate that has taken longer to move than the sellers wanted, I hear the voice of the old radio financial advisor Bruce Williams in my head. Assuming that you have sufficiently publicized your listing, he would say, the market is telling you that your price is too high. You may think that you need to get X dollars from the sale, or insist that you’ve invested Y dollars into the property, but none of that matters to the buyer. Regardless of other factors, anything is worth only what a customer is willing and able to pay for it. I hope that all drive-in owners with current listings and future sales take that to heart so these great institutions can stay in operation.

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