Photography by Brian Baiamonte
COMPANY Shane Morrison Companies
WHAT THEY DO Real estate development, restaurant management and family entertainment.
ADDRESS 16851 Jefferson Hwy., Suite 9A
NEXT GOALS Provide opportunities for employees to achieve personal and professional growth, and financial stability.
Tearing tickets at the Bon Marché Twin Cinema in 1989, Shane Morrison dreamed his after-school job might evolve into a career. At a young age, he saw his future as a self-made businesses man owning and operating several theaters across southeast Louisiana. Today, he owns that and much more. As the founder and CEO of Shane Morrison Companies, Morrison parlayed his early theater projects into other real estate opportunities in retail, restaurant management and entertainment. “What led me into real estate development was that theaters were anchors for development,” says 44-year-old Morrison, who is also the largest Walk-On’s franchisee with the rights to 30 units across five states.
In the early 2000s, Morrison’s theater business evolved into a real estate company and began developing properties for Starbuck, Lowe’s, Walmart and early Raising Cane’s locations, among others. When the bottom fell out of the real estate market in 2008, Morrison diversified, leveraging his stake in the Santa Fe Cattle Company restaurants to make his way into restaurant management. “We started to vertically integrate ourselves so we would own and operate all of our real estate,” he says, adding one of the considerations for returning to operations management was because it was the best way to keep his employees working during the economic downturn.
With early success as a young entrepreneur and developer, Morrison says the secret is to stick to the things you do best. “These days, I find myself passing up more opportunities as opposed to trying to grow in and get involved in things we don’t know much about.” And for Morrison, sticking to your roots means learning from failures. “You’ve got to remember what it’s like to be down to the last $50 of available credit, not cash, with a second mortgage on the house.” Today, he finds fulfillment by helping a desk employee, ticket taker or waitress become the owner of one of his restaurants or theaters.
Through his theater brand, Celebrity Theaters, Morrison has recently been focused on developing family entertainment concepts that appeal to all ages. He’s currently renovating his theater at Jones Creek Road and Coursey Boulevard into a family entertainment complex that will include things like arcade games, bowling and two of the largest screens in Louisiana with luxury reclining leather stadium seats. “I see opportunities in Baton Rouge right now on the southeast side of the city to create multi-family entertainment.” As the brick-and-mortar retail sector is in flux, Morrison says developers see entertainment as a natural place to backfill.