It’s not that I don’t understand why people walk in the door of our business and ask, “What is this place?” Since the first multiplexes opened around 40 years ago little neighborhood theatres like the one we operate our business in have, one at a time, gone the way of the shoeshine and closed as people changed their moviegoing habits to include a fifteen minute highway drive and a trip to the mall. Time and development march on, and I notice in a lot of cases of buildings originally designed to be single screen theatres the new businesses will keep old elements of the former cinema just for decoration, or even do something cutesy like hang up movie posters in their new hair salon/restaurant/bed and breakfast. That’s confusing for sure.
Sometimes a new visitor has never even seen a movie theatre operating in a nearly 90 year old space, and I’ll be the first to say there are some crazy odds against being an independent film exhibitor, but I can also tell you we are straight up making it work.
Perhaps our brand spanking new blade sign will help Sun-Ray Cinema speak for itself. At 12′ tall it’s mounted right in the brackets that the neon sign boasted by the original tenant, the Riverside Theatre, used back in 1927 to let folks know, “Hey, we’re a movie theatre.”
Our sign was built right here in town, and I especially dorked out over the opportunity to take a tour of the shop where it was being built. Here’s a peek at the process!