Gary King at his beloved Wonga Drive In.
Gary King at his beloved Wonga Drive In. Craig Warhurst

Wonga drive-in a going concern

WONGA Drive-in owner Gary King is hopeful the dream business he built up and very nearly had paid off will be sold as a going concern.

Mr King spoke to The Gympie Times yesterday and confirmed he had declared bankruptcy but emphasised it had nothing to do with the performance of the drive-in.

“I had no choice … it certainly wasn’t the performance of the drive-in, it was performing quite well,” Mr King said.

He said it was the debt owed on the Sovereign Cinema that had been the final straw.

“The Sovereign Cinema debt killed us… that wasn’t all the problems – the low attendance and then the bank wouldn’t help us in any way.

“We spent over $300,000 renovating the cinema and the bank sold off the assets for $50,000.”

Despite figures showing an upward trend initially, the cinema was hit hard by the brunt of last year’s recession.

“Unfortunately the recession happened when we finished the renovation … the budget did blow out (but) no-one had spent anything on the cinema in 17 years.”

He said the attitude of the bank was completely unhelpful to him trading his way through.

“I tried to do the right thing by Gympie but it didn’t go my way.”

The drive-in continued to prove popular but he said that in the end it was subsidising the cinema.

“I desperately didn’t want to have the drive in closed … once I declared bankruptcy it was in the hands of the bank.”

Mr King said he appreciated the support the Wonga Drive-in received from patrons.

“People were really supporting the drive-in and it was helping us. Now I’ve lost everything.”

He said someone was looking at buying the drive-in as a going concern.

“There is one person who is interested in it. I’m hoping it will be sold as a going concern. Everything is there to start operating it again.”

Gympie Times


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