Pride of Oklahoma: CinéShow salutes CCSI’s David Boles

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Cinemas Features

There’s an old adage, “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy,” and David Boles, this month’s profile and CinéShow’s 2016 Vendor of the Year, is proud to prove that fact. Born in Midwest City, Oklahoma, a small suburb of Oklahoma City, David has remained a resident of that area his entire life. His mom and dad still live in the home they purchased one month prior to his birth. He attended high school right there, and played most sports including football, wrestling, baseball and track. “My dad was my biggest influence in my early years,” David professes.

David went on to earn his college degree from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Oklahoma. As he worked his way through college, he was influenced greatly by a dear friend, Dale Goad, who employed him and taught him the value of hard work. He never has left his roots behind.

After graduating from SOSU in 1990, David accepted a position with Keystone and Cad-Tech Architectural, selling supplies to those that needed Mylar and such. In 1992, the first real change came in in his professional career as he took on a position with Farmers Insurance in Mustang, Oklahoma. “I met a lot of interesting people in that job” he says proudly. “One day while selling Roger Johnson insurance, I heard him say he needed a salesperson to get his confectionary distribution business off the ground. I told him I could sell anything and a lot of it,” he boldly confides. Sure enough, David Boles began as sales director for Continental Concession Sales Inc.—“the one in Oklahoma, not New York,” he chuckles.

When the Oklahoma company dissolved, CCSI in New York was quick to call. “I remember Adam Gottlieb called me and said, ‘You got the job, go to work!’ I said, ‘Is there an interview or anything?’ Adam has been a great boss, he is always there to help but never interferes with my sales capabilities! I love this job and could not have a better person to coach me.” David adds that he gets his motivation from Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

He recalls a favorite moment: “I received a call from Adam to meet him in Las Vegas for a meeting.” Unfortunately, his luggage was lost in transit and he did not have his best suit. “All I had was what I was wearing. I was dressed in my boots, jeans and a button-up shirt. Little did I know I was in the Gottlieb standard attire! I was so nervous I took some advice from Bill Knight, who told me to do a few push-ups to relax the muscles. I still hope no one saw me in the parking lot of the Vegas hotel doing push-ups, jumping jacks, etc. in a starched shirt and cowboy boots. My shirt was no longer starched.”

David sees his largest challenge as the consolidation of businesses. Every time two companies join, it means one less buyer and he cannot control that aspect of the business; however, he prides himself on the great opportunities that lie before him. He believes the theatre industry is wide open, with the opportunity to try new items and test different snacks or candy. “I tell people: Do not be afraid to try anything, you never know what it is going to take. I never thought I would be offering chicken strips or churros to my customers,” he continues. “The turbo-chef oven has opened all kinds of possibilities for theatre owners.”

David is in fact more like a sculptor than a salesman, as he shapes the experience of his customers by not only providing deliveries and products but consultations and educational aspects as well. He is compelled to say that the highest compliment paid to him is when a customer asks, “David, what would you do here?” He believes that presentation is the component that sets the standard—from the soft drink leaving the concession stand to the chicken finger basket; it all must look appealing. “Keep it simple, keep it fresh and make it look great!” he urges.

David doesn’t see the need for healthier options yet, since his perspective is that cinemas are not health-food stores. He believes that choices are the reality, and he stands behind the function of items like bottled water. Yet his attitude is that people in cinemas visit the auditoriums to be entertained, not exercised. Popcorn is a staple for him and it fits the occasion for this salesman and can be full of fiber.

Adam Gottlieb explains, “David’s customers love to work with him, and display a sense of loyalty seldom seen in today’s business world. Many of his customers were customers of his before he left the industry, and they were more than thrilled to come back and work with him as soon as he came to work at CCSI. It has been amazing to watch David Boles progress and succeed at CCSI. His hard work, knowledge of the industry, and support of his customers make him an important asset to CCSI and to the customers and vendors he works with every day.”

In keeping with his love of movies, Kevin Costner is David’s favorite actor. His desire to visit Australia is probably connected to his favorite movie: The Man from Snowy River, a film about Australia and his most likely travel destination. David is true to his values in confections when he watches movies: “Chocolate almonds, popcorn and Dr. Pepper,” spoken like a true Okie. If David can’t be in a theatre, he loves to hunt—anything, deer, turkey, pheasant, quail and golf balls.

David is married to Dara, his wife of 27 years, and they have four children—Janae, 23; D.J., 22; Rhett, 17, and Cade, 13.