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Senator Operators Opt for More Screens Instead of Restaurant

Sometimes scaling back one plan can mean expansion of others. In the case of the Senator Theatre, a North Baltimore landmark with a recent history often centering on uncertainty, a recent change of plans will shift the 1939 art-deco building from mixed-use entertainment site with one movie screen to a multi-screen movie house with a smaller amount of dedicated space for eating and drinking.

On Saturday, March 19, operators James "Buzz" Cusack and Kathleen Cusack announced that 307 new cinema seats will be spread among three new theaters in the building just south of the intersection of York Road and Northern Parkway. Instead of previous plans for a small-plates restaurant in the large contiguous space north of the current movie auditorium, the building will be segmented to allow for a variety of first-run movies with different target audiences to be shown. There is also potential for new screening technology to be rolled out in the smaller boutique theaters, following the Senator's selection for a THX audio overhaul in 2003 that never completely came to pass.

"We're trying to get our hands on a digital 3-D projector for the summer when we're still just a single screen, but they're hard to come by and they're expensive," Kathleen Cusack says. All of the Senator's new equipment will be digital, which marks a major change from its current 35 mm and 70 mm film equipment.

Despite scrapping plans for a full restaurant on the site, the Senator will still add a wine bar and Sofi's Crepes, which also has a location in the Charles Theatre in the Station North neighborhood. The Charles is also operated by the Cusacks, who hold a 40-year lease on the city-owned Senator Theatre.
Writer: Sam Hopkins
Source: Kathleen Cusack, Senator Theatre operator

CityCents.com Launches With New Spin on Local Deals

With local deal sites proliferating on the Internet as the latest business trend, it's important to do something to set a new site apart. That's the thought behind Edgewater-based Citycents. Rather than simply provide users with valuable offers, Citycents is the first pay-to-play local auction model allowing people to bid on the offers and win them at a fraction of the discount price. 

"We saw all the Groupon clones that are popping up everywhere and we wanted to put a unique spin on it. We thought the auction model would give us an opportunity to attract customers that are willing to score deals for just a few cents," says Brian Salta, Citycents

The site, launched last Wednesday, offers users two ways to purchase its deals. They can opt for the traditional method purchasing a deal for the listed discount price, or the site gives them the opportunity to take part in auctions of its daily discount deals.To participate in the auctions, users purchase bids, for 70 cents each, in bundles. All auctions start at zero dollars and there's no reserve. Each bid increases the auction price by one penny regardless of the cost of the deal. Bidders who don't win the auction also have the option to purchase the  deal for the "By It Now" price, cashing in their used bids for a discount on the deal price. Citycents also offer a variety of daily deals, another factor designed to set it apart from other deal sites.

"It gives us the opportunity to feature more merchants. We're in the process of working with local merchants in Baltimore and D.C. to bring our users more exclusive deals," says Salta.

Through its unique auction platform, Citycents says it helps the everyday consumer gain access and awareness to exceptional local and nationwide brands with deals at up to 99% off. Citycents deals are available in Baltimore and Washington, DC metropolitan areas and feature offers from local restaurants to spa services and events, including nationwide deals covering major brands such as Apple, Sony, Gucci, Burberry, and more.

According to Salta, the site has plans to offer deals in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, but needs to garner more interest from consumers in those areas before they can launch in those locations.

Source: Brian Salta, Citycents
Writer: Walaika Haskins

Esquire's best bar in America, Brewer's Art, puts Resurrection in a can

Baltimore beer lovers had an extra reason to celebrate this Memorial Day weekend following the launch of the canned version of Resurrection from local celebrity bar Brewer's Art.

As they paid homage to the troops who've given their lives fighting our nation's wars, while simultaneously kicking off the unofficial start of summer, those who love Brewer's Art beers cold heft a cold one in the comfort of the own home.

The newly canned Resurrection joins Brewer's line of bottled beers available at about 100 liquor stores in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Harford County and Howard County, says Tom Creegan, co-owner.

"Resurrection is far and away our biggest seller. It was a way to get it out in an easier format," he says, adding that there aren't any current plans to offer additional varieties of its beers in cans.

It took about two years to adjust the recipe and produce the best beer for bottling and now canning. "We do it here and have what we like here, but doing it at a different brewery it takes a little while to get it where you want it. It's a learning curve, working at a different facility on different equipment. You don't just add four times as much stuff," Creegan explains.

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