Hersheypark's owner Herco to buy another park.

Tuesday, June 5, 2001 8:01 PM
Herco is busy this year buying smaller parks around Central PA. They recently acquired Dutch Wonderland as I am sure that most of you heard, but now they have their sites set on another even smaller park. Williams Grove Amusement park located in Mechanicburg, PA. www.williamsgrovepark.com/home.html It was announced in todays Patriot News (Harrisburg PA's Local paper.) I will give links and updates as I get them.

The owner of Williams Grove is looking to sell to Herco because with the current operating costs he is barely able to keep it going. He sites increasing insurance, and high maintenance costs for eating away at his profits.

I personally am happy to see what Herco does to this small park. It definately can't hurt it. They have the out and back wooden Cylcone, a fabulous old funhouse, and just recently opened the Wildcat(used Steel mouse.) Herco said they are interested in the park because of its expandablility(Goodbye Speedway,)and its historical importance of being the last remaining small family park in the area.
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Tuesday, June 5, 2001 8:42 PM
Sounds like a news item to me. This will probably be good for this little park.
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Tuesday, June 5, 2001 11:09 PM
I've heard some stories about the condition of Williams Grove, so this doesn't surprise me much.

(Note: Did anyone else see the article in the paper? I don't think this is a rumor, but we try to filter things like that out.)

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Matt Lynch
Co-Webmaster, Kennywood Boulevard
http://kennywood.coasterbuzz.com
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Wednesday, June 6, 2001 5:05 AM
Still trying to figure this one out.

I don't get the Harrisburg Patriot, and I haven't read the York Daily Record lately.

I'm just wondering why Herco would do this? I can see buying a park out side of your sphere of influence, but why buy not only one, but two, with in forty minutes of your park in a market area that you already own?

As for Williamsgrove, their Wildcat is not a "mouse" but a steel Wildcat coaster rumored (on the RCDB) to have come from the Steel Pier in NJ. A few weeks ago it had purple and orange paint job (I doubt this has changed considering the $ situation at Williamsgrove). As for the old Cyclone, I doubt that it could even stand a paint job (the weight of a new coat of paint could cause this thing to collapse!)

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"Resistance is futile... you will be assimilated." The BORG's (and Six Flags') motto.
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Wednesday, June 6, 2001 7:01 AM
For the same reason Kennywood bought Idlewild years ago (IMHO) -- to keep one of the big guns (like Six Flags) from swooping in and turning a cute little local park into a major competitor. Kennywood and Hershey will continue to support and develop these parks, but keep them small local parks, helping to preserve their "way of life" at the main park...

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--Greg

http://www.pobox.com/~gregleg/
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Wednesday, June 6, 2001 8:06 AM
I can't really see Williams Grove as a park that a major competitor of Herco would be interested in. I am not sure of the acreage that this park has, but it isn't enough for a major park. They do definately have room to expand. If Herco closes the Speedway they have even more room to expand, and thats a pretty decent amount of land. I think Herco is buying it for the same reason that they bought Dutch Wonderland. It will compliment Hersheypark. I am speculating that Herco is making this move to give people more of a reason to spend a few days in the area rather than just one or two days to visit Hersheypark. Time will tell.
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Wednesday, June 6, 2001 8:20 AM
I agree with GregLeg on this one. HERCO and Kennywood were smart to buy the smaller parks. It stops the competition from sneaking into their area.
-Eric

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E Blitz Entertainment
Bay City, Michigan
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Wednesday, June 6, 2001 8:24 AM
Also: what's better, to make money off Hersheypark, or to make money off of Hersheypark, Williams Grove and Dutch Wonderland? This increases Herco profitability, and with major marketing support behind them, attendance at the smaller park could go up....

I was just poking around the Patriot News website, via PennLive.com, and can't find anything on this story...am I looking in the wrong place? *** This post was edited by slithernoggin on 6/6/2001. ***
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Wednesday, June 6, 2001 8:55 AM
Okay, I can see their interest in Dutch Wonderland. It is a pleasant park geared toward kids and in the heart of the Tourist Trade in Lancaster County (Amish Country and outlet shopping). Over the years the park has been upkept nicely and would need very little (if any) improvements to keep profitable (story I heard was that some of the family members wanted to sell, others did not, so Hershey bought them out while leaving them keep in the management at least in the near future... not sure of the details).

Williamsgrove is a different story. This park is rundown. Their biggest ride, the Cyclone, is SBBR (Standing, But Bearly Running). The buildings for the most part are pretty run down as well. The funhouse that everyone mentions isn't all that much and will take alot of work to get back in top shape. Can't comment on the new Wildcat coaster (have not been there when that was running). it seems like it will take quite an outlay of $ to improve this park and make it break even.

I also could not find anything in the Harrisburg Patriot news (on line).
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"Resistance is futile... you will be assimilated." The BORG's (and Six Flags') motto. *** This post was edited by SLFAKE on 6/6/2001. ***
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Wednesday, June 6, 2001 2:09 PM
Kennywood's purchase of Idlewild makes sense when you look at it that way...

But I don't really think Lake Compounce is close enough to Kennywood to fit in the same category. ;)

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Matt Lynch
Co-Webmaster, Kennywood Boulevard
http://kennywood.coasterbuzz.com
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Wednesday, June 6, 2001 3:35 PM
I have been looking at the Patriot News site too. Thats why I said I'd post the link when I find it. It hard to find anything in there.
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Friday, June 15, 2001 6:44 PM
what are they going to do with it? if they bring it up to hershey parks standards, they would be competing with them selves, LOL
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