Why A Fundraising Campaign?
Since mid-March, we have been able to cover many of our expenses with savings, a few small grants, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, temporary rent abatement, donations, gift card sales, and popcorn sales. However, those funds are not nearly enough to make up for the disruption COVID-19 has caused and this money will be used up very soon.
A Brief History Of The Strand
Kendallville’s Strand Theatre is one of the oldest continually operating theaters in the United States and has operated under several names. The Spencer Opera House opened in September 1890 and hosted opera, legitimate theater, and minstrel shows. In 1905, the opera house changed ownership and was renamed the Boyer Opera House. It hosted opera, legitimate theater, minstrel shows, and vaudeville acts. Moving pictures were first shown at the Boyer in 1909 and was later refashioned as a movie theater in 1919. In 1928, ownership changed again and was renamed the Strand Theatre. The state-of-the-art, dazzling marquee was added in the 1940’s. In 1980, an extensive remodel to the Strand turned the one-screen movie house into a two-screen movie house. A new owner in 2001 renovated the Strand to its current floor plan.
On February 28, 2020, we took over as owners of the Strand. We took that first week and painted and did some small upgrades to the bathrooms and concession area and installed a Point-of-Sale system. We reopened on March 6th, 2020 and had a fabulous opening week. Then, everything stopped on March 16th, a mere 10 days after we had reopened.
We had so many plans, ideas, and goals for the Strand in 2020, but they all had to be postponed until things normalize again. Because of COVID-19, our main goal in 2020 became simply to just survive. Besides all the disruptions from COVID-19, we have also had to deal with several unexpected repair items this year. Our front window was broken by someone trying to break into the theater, a severe summer storm broke one side of our marquee, and vandals with bb guns shot two of our front windows. While these are just random things that happen, it was just more things to deal with during an incredibly challenging year.
What Will Donations Be Used For?
Contributions to this GoFundMe campaign will help us cover our fixed monthly expenses: rent, utilities, phone, internet, property insurance, bookkeeping, and wages. Our goal is to raise $50,000 to help us get through the remainder of 2020 and to help us stay open until the theatre industry normalizes itself in 2021.
Will The Strand Have To Close Again?
We certainly hope not. We have closed the Strand for a week or two since September to try and minimize our expenses. The Strand will reopen again on Friday, December 11th, after being closed for 3 weeks. Film companies are starting to slowly release new movies and we are excited to be able to once again, show first-run movies at the Strand, along with some classic older movies.
Are Movie Theaters Even Needed Anymore?
Roger Ebert once said, “Old theatres are irreplaceable…I think a town’s old theatres are the sanctuary of its dreams.”
We know that movies today can be viewed just about anywhere, but we believe there is just something about experiencing a movie on the big screen as the writers, directors, editors, and actors intended it to be seen and experienced that makes going to the movie theaters special.
We try very hard to bring movies to our community at a fair ticket price and to keep our concession prices reasonable so that everyone can afford to come and enjoy seeing movies on the big screen. The Strand Theatre is the biggest anchor business in downtown Kendallville and its customers and supporters love their theater!
Many of our customers have shared with us their fond memories of and connections to the Strand. Several of them remember coming to the Strand as a child and many have told us stories of their first job at the Strand when they were teenagers. We love hearing these stories and want to continue to be a part of childhood memories. Being someone’s first employer has been so rewarding for us this year, despite the craziness of 2020.
How Can You Help?
* We would be so grateful if you could contribute to this campaign.
* Share this campaign with your friends.
* Come to the Strand and enjoy a movie!
* If you’re not ready to be in public spaces yet, come purchase the best popcorn around to enjoy at home whenever we’re open!
* Purchase reloadable Gift Cards that never expire and can be used for both tickets and concessions!
One of the things this pandemic has shown us is that isolation can be harmful. When you need an escape or diversion, a date, a night out, a thrill or a laugh, or just a couple of hours to yourself, movie theaters have always been around. The Strand is a place that our community needs.
As always, we thank you so much for your support. We have the best customers and supporters and we thank you for helping us to keep the Strand open and a vital part of our community!
Kevin & Kathy Robbins
- Virginia Sparks
- Brad & Tracey Jones
- Cecelee Shuck
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