EnterTRAINment Line attracts new investors with new ideas More theme rides planned for future

April 13, 1993|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

An investors group from Michigan has joined the EnterTRAINment Line, complete with some new ideas to brighten the already vigorous weekend and holiday excursion rail line.

The New Windsor-based company's five new investors -- Don Golec, Steve Hamilton, Kirk and Pam Lorenz, and Jerry Pilcher -- joined longtime owner Gus Novotny on Feb. 1.

The group, which invests in unusual entertainment ideas, runs two hotels and a dinner train in Michigan, Mr. Hamilton said.

"Gus is still a real big part of running this," Mr. Hamilton said of the EnterTRAINment Line, which attracts about 30,000 people from the Baltimore-Washington area each year. "He still works full time on the promotional end."

Mr. Golec has moved to Carroll with his family to become the company's general manager, while the remaining investors are commuting between Michigan and Maryland, he said.

"Gus contacted us to come down and look at the operation," Mr. Hamilton said. "Our group has been in the hospitality business for a long time. We just gave them an offer they couldn't refuse."

Mr. Novotny said the former stockholders willingly sold their shares.

"It wasn't because of dissatisfaction," he said.

Mr. Hamilton, who owned 15 liquor stores in Michigan, said Mr. Lorenz and his family had operated a restaurant in Plymouth, Mich., for 65 years before joining the investment group. Mr. Golec had also been in the food and beverage business for many years, he said.

"We're versed in the trade and know a lot about it," Mr. Hamilton said.

The group was drawn to the EnterTRAINment Line because of its casual atmosphere, he said.

"Other dinner trains around the country are more elegant, more highbrow," Mr. Hamilton said. "This is a fun train, something unique. We want people to sit back and relax."

New theme rides -- featuring the Roaring '20s, a Monte Carlo atmosphere, dances for teen-agers or country-western music -- are on the agenda for the next year, he said.

"We're going to do any theme we can get away with," Mr. Hamilton said. "We're open to suggestions. Anyone who has any ideas should let us know."

EnterTRAINment also is planning to add more coaches, more dining capacity and a second dance car, he said.

The second dance car was one of two pieces the company bought from Amtrak last year, Mr. Novotny said.

The other car, a sleeper, will eventually be added to create a rolling bed and breakfast on the train.

"We've been doing this [adding on] every year," he said. "This is not because we've got new people. Those were the plans all along."

Mr. Hamilton said the group has been pleased with their investment so far.

"The market is great in this area, and the reception has been good," he said.

"I saw a lady here the other day that has been on three times since we came. The people really love it."

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