Rahim Charania, Three Ring Studios president, and Cary Goldman, Three Ring Studios partner, feel as if they are part of the Covington and Newton County family. Together, they are creating the nation’s largest film studio in our own backyard.
“From my perspective, and that’s the Charania family perspective, we’ve been doing business in Georgia since the late ‘70s and we have not felt, even with the naysayers, as welcome in a community as we do in Covington,” Charania said. “I walk by and I’m in the square and I know people that operate their restaurants, I say ‘Hi’ to the people that pass me on the street and it really is a big family. As the newest member of the family, and I think I can speak for Cary on this, as the two newest members of the Covington family, we care about the city. We care about what benefits the city.
“This is not in either one of us’ wheelhouse. Why did we do it? Because it is an exciting business and we love Covington. That’s why we did it and I would put the love for Covington ahead of the exciting business part because there’s exciting businesses everywhere. We’re here. We’re here to stay. We’re here for the benefit of the community and we’re looking forward to our impact being positive and the impact following through generationally.”
Three Ring Studios promises to bring jobs and training to Newton County residents in an exciting and growing industry.
“Let’s face it, this is not the first time a big development has come to Newton County,” Charania said. “We’ve got a General Mills plant, we have a Nisshinbo. We have a lot of great businesses that have come into Covington. Now with the work that the city council and mayor have done to revitalize the square it has also brought in a lot of business.
“But what Three Ring Studios does differently is that it brings what has been in Covington for decades a more solid home. It provides a place for the Newton County School System to bring its students to see what the campus looks like, to excite and invigorate students to learn something new and give them the hope that they don’t need to leave Covington to have a bright future. The bright future’s waiting for them as long as they go out there and learn the skills required to get the job of their dreams.”
Three Ring Studios is set in the heart of Covington, on Georgia Highway 142 near the City Pond Road intersection.
2018 will be a construction year for the studio, he said. The construction phase of the project allows for a diverse range of immediate employment opportunities for residents who may not be interested in film-related jobs.
Charania said 60 percent of the studio’s current contractors are Newton County-based.
“It is a plus for us,” he said. “Not only are they getting employed and making revenues and incomes for their work on the site, but every time they leave the site they eat in Covington. They get gas in Covington. They buy a lottery ticket in Covington. They shop in Covington.”
“That same thing happens as the studio is operating, it’s just different people,” Goldman said.
Charania calls the impact one business has another on surrounding businesses the “halo effect,” which is having economic impacts immediately.
“The city really has embraced this industry, and the industry has paid the city back in multiples by spending money,” he said.
Something that makes Covington stand out from other studio locations is the actual city itself, Charania said.
“Everybody that comes to Covington, they love it,” he said. “They don’t mind making it their home. We’re finding it a fairly easy sell once people step foot in Covington.”
While the majority of the feedback has been positive, Three Ring Studios has not been without its fair share of naysayers. To those people, Charania says it is time to welcome change.
“Opportunity and change are coming to Covington and Newton County. I didn’t bring it. It is a fact of life that change is constant,” he said. “I am a part of the process. Cary is a part of that process, but we’re not the instigators of it. What’s the real catalyst for the change? It’s the City of Covington. Stop being so welcoming.”
He said he would give the naysayers the benefit of the doubt.
“They love the City of Covington just as much as we do and we are looking forward to the opportunity to open up Three Ring Studios not to show them ‘Look, we did it,’ but to show them here’s another great part to your city,” he said.