Chris Villareal

Chris Villareal stands in the arcade at Cinergy Cinemas in Copperas Cove.

Cinergy Cinemas stands alone at the end of a long winding road on the edge of Copperas Cove. It also stands alone as a one-of-a-kind entertainment complex on the cutting edge of what a movie theater can offer its patrons.

The 40,000-square-foot facility offers something for several demographics. It has first-class movie theaters complete with plenty of dining options. It has an arcade with 59 games that hand out tickets to be exchanged for prizes. And it has a glow-in-the-dark laser tag course.

The point is to create a one-stop shop for family fun.

“We want our customers to be saying ‘Wow!’ when they leave,” said Christopher Villareal, who has been the general manager at Cinergy since it opened in 2009.

Cinergy Cinemas is privately owned by one man, Jeff Benson. Cinergy has another location in Corsicana. And despite the economy and intense competition from big box chains, Cinergy is growing.

“We are doing great,” said Villareal. “We’re opening a third location in Midland that will be 70,000 square feet. That will be open by summer 2013.”

Villareal estimates that 6,000 to 10,000 customers walk through the doors every weekend. A typical Saturday brings in more than 3,000 customers.

“Our highest total for a Saturday night is 3,889,” said Villareal. “I am shooting for that 4,000 mark.”

Another thing Villareal is shooting for is increased business on the special events side. Cinergy is available for private parties and events.

Villareal said he can show any film party organizers want to see if they provide it on Blu-ray. And Villareal is shooting for more than just birthday parties.

“We are equipped for just about any type of event,” Villareal said. “We have podiums, microphones, equipment for presentations. We have done two events for the military. We did the Copperas Cove State of the City event this year. We ran a video they made on the big screen. There were over 200 people, and they had a blast.”

“Right now, events are not a big part of our business, but it is something we are promoting,” he added. “My goal is to get events and parties to be 10 percent of our business.”

To that end, Villareal is endlessly working to market Cinergy, and he doesn’t set any limits to do so. He once shot a Shriner out of a cannon across the Cinergy parking lot as part of a promotional partnership with the Shrine Circus.

“Reaching out to the community is very important,” said Villareal. “We want to be accepted not only by the community, but by our fellow businesses.”

One of the projects Villareal is working on is promoting the idea of a Fall Fest in Cove. He has a vision where downtown Cove is closed off and residents and vendors celebrate the season together. He is currently working with a local church to make that happen.

“I have already given some movie and laser tag passes to a church that is doing a Fall Fest,” he said. “They will be doing some of their events here. My hope is that in the next few years we can get the whole community involved in a huge Fall Fest.”

Contact Mason Lerner at or (254) 501-7567

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