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Noyo Theatre, Willits

The Noyo Theatre is a classic movie theater that opened in the small town of Willits, CA in 1940. Jeff and Lois Hoover are former entertainment industry employees (Lois in film, Jeff in theater) from Southern California who moved to Willits in 2011 with the dream of starting their own business in this community-oriented small town. After reviewing several local businesses for sale with their SBDC advisor, Jeff and Lois Hoover negotiated an SBA loan and the purchase of The Noyo Theatre in June of 2012.

When Jeff and Lois Hoover moved to  Mendocino County, they were planning on buying a local hardware store, or some other small established business. Although neither had retail experience nor business management experience, they were excited about the possibility of becoming business owners and needed help determining the value of the businesses for sale, making a fair offer, and applying for financing. Should they purchase a business, they would need additional help with setting up accounting systems, payroll, and other financial management issues. They would also require assistance implementing a marketing plan.

Nancy Banker, a contract consultant working with West Company’s Mendocino SBDC clients, met with the Hoovers and helped them pore through the financial documents provided by the owners of the businesses in question. After due diligence was done, it was determined that the hardware store was not a feasible business for the Hoovers to purchase, and the Hoovers then turned their attention to another business for sale: The Noyo Theater. Nancy Banker worked with the Hoovers to determine the value of the business, which includes the Noyo Theater building, and estimate the costs that would be involved to bring the building up to current safety codes and to update the obsolete equipment being used. Once the real value of the business was established, Ms. Banker helped the Hoovers obtain an SBA loan for $446,000 from North Valley Bank in Willits. The Hoovers also invested $200,000 of their own money in the venture. The Hoovers are now working with another West Company contract consultant, Donna Montag, to set up their accounting and payroll systems so that they can manage the financial aspects of the business efficiently and accurately. They continue to work with Nancy Banker on business development, marketing, and operations as well.

With the assistance of Nancy Banker, the Hoovers were able to access $446,000 in capital in the form of an SBA loan from North Valley Bank. Adding their own investment to this amount, they were able to purchase The Noyo Theater business and building for $ 400,000 in June 2012. An additional $246,000 was set aside for equipment, upgrades and repairs to the 72 year old building. They are currently working with Donna Montag on their accounting system, which is progressing well. They continue to work with Nancy Banker on tracking cash flow, press releases, and other aspects of marketing. The Hoovers have completed most of the repairs and have updated all the equipment in their first month of ownership. They are now showing all digital films, including RealD 3D on their main screen to local audiences in the historic building. The business was losing money when they purchased it and probably would have been forced to close, but now the Hoovers both work full-time at the theater with the help of their daughter Jeri,and they have been able to retain 9 of the original employees.

When the Hoovers first came to West Company’s Mendocino SBDC, they really wanted to have their own business to run since they were no longer satisfied with employment opportunities in their respective fields. Now, according to Lois, “we are very proud that our perseverance and tenacity allowed us to reach this point, and are very excited to finally realize our goals... West Company has given us and continues to provide priceless guidance throughout this journey.”

Company Name: The Noyo Theater
Business Owner(s): Lois and Jeff Hoover
Phone: (707) 459-NOYO