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    Ry Russell, 22
    Managing Partner/Co-Founder
    VR Marketing Consultants, LLC

    The Saco Drive-In is the place to be on Friday and Saturday nights in Saco, in large part because of the efforts of Forty Under 40 Award winner Ry Russell, 22, who revitalized and rebranded the theater to appeal to a younger audience.

    What once was a fading memory for many older Mainers is now a popular venue again, this time for a younger generation who can enjoy the movies with family and friends in a more social setting than regular theaters.

    In less than six months after taking over, Ry doubled the profits for the theater and boosted its fan base on Facebook from 3,000 to nearly 10,000, according to his partner Sean Violette at VR Marketing Consultants.

    “We’re doing phenomenal,” says Ry, who credits much of his success at the theater and his other business ventures to “honest-to-goodness” care about his customers and the product.

    “I love my clients, and I love my customers at the theater, and they all know that. My business doesn’t exist without them, and if they are going to take care of me, I am going to make sure they receive the highest of quality. If I cannot make something happen, I do not give them the runaround. I tell them the truth, and they trust me.”

    In addition to this young Mainer’s contributions to business, he’s also recognized as a social media expert, and he’s working with the Pine Tree Society to raise awareness and funds for the organization. He also helped market the charity fashion show for Partners for World Health, a nonprofit that collects and redistributes otherwise discarded medical supplies around the globe.

    Ry’s parents recognized their son’s generosity and talent from an early age when, in the sixth grade after winning a $25 certificate for selling the most tickets to a school benefit, he traded it for $100 worth of stuffed animals, which he donated to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital.

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