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Tiffin drive in announces major renovations

The newest operator of the Tiffin Drive-In has owned the theater less than 24 hours, but has already pledged $200,000 in renovations to revitalize the historic grounds.
The newest operator of the Tiffin Drive-In has owned the theater less than 24 hours but has...
The newest operator of the Tiffin Drive-In has owned the theater less than 24 hours but has already pledged $200,000 in renovations to revitalize the historic grounds.
Published: Aug. 27, 2020 at 5:36 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Micheal Cole is the newest owner of the Tiffin Drive-In.

Cole purchased the theater less than 24 hours ago on Wednesday.

“Here we are, and I’ve been the owner one day and we’re ready to do some new things here,” said Micheal Cole.

In a joint statement with the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce and the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership, Cole laid out a plan to tear down several existing theater structures and then replace them with all new materials.

“We made the decision to bring down the screen this fall, sometime in September and construct an all-new screen. It will be an all-new screen, it’ll be the same size, but it will really improve the viewing experience for our customers,” said Cole.

Cole explains two screens in total will be constructed before next year’s movie season.

In September Cole expects the drive in’s main screen to be torn down and then replaced all at once.

“This drive-in has been here a very long time. It’s been here since 1949 and it’s 71 years old. The screen is original to that, and it’s been added to, it was expanded for cinemascope, it’s been repaired, it’s been reinforced, so it’s really kind of a conglomeration of different projects. But the internal structure of it is made entirely of wood and that wood is starting to succumb to the ravages of time, and it’s not going to be standing much longer,” said Cole.

As part of Cole’s $200,000 pledge to his business, he also plans to repair existing structures and buildings.

Micheal Cole's $200,000 pledge for the Tiffin Drive-In will include two brand new projection...
Micheal Cole's $200,000 pledge for the Tiffin Drive-In will include two brand new projection screens, maintenance to current buildings, and concession stand repairs.(Jack Bassett)

Cole explains that the Tiffin drive-in plans to remain open during construction just as it has amid the pandemic.

“You know during a pandemic we’re always looking for affordable options that are family-friendly, and really bring people to the region. And with only 34 drive inns throughout the state of Ohio, any way you can bring folks in from the region and community. It’s a win for everyone,” said Bryce Riggs.

Bryce Riggs the Executive Director of the Tiffin Chamber of Commerce believes this is not just an investment for the Tiffin drive-in but an investment in the entire local community.

Michael Cole explains his purchase of the Tiffin Drive-In comes in part thanks to his nostalgia.

“Drive-Inn’s have been here for 70 years, this once’s been here for 71 years and they’ve evolved over time. But I do think there’s a midwestern flavor to them,” said Cole.

Dating back to 1949 the Tiffin Drive-In has streamed thousands of movies on its big screen for the NW Ohio community.

Amid the pandemic, the Tiffin Drive-In has been playing classic films throughout the summer.

Cole explains that the theater is finally getting new movie releases sent their way, including Bill and Ted 3, New Mutants, and Unhinged all premiering this weekend.

Cole hopes the drive-in’s new improvements will maintain the historic legacy of the Tiffin Drive-In, while also welcoming visitors to an updated renovated movie watching experience.

“I hope that people just remember to come out and enjoy the uniqueness of a drive-in movie. And it’s not just a movie its family coming out, enjoying a night under the stars watching the sunset and coming out with your family and friends to watch a movie,” said Cole.

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