Willows theater to go dark, again
Six months after the grand reopening of Andy’s Theater, the popular moving house is going dark once again.
The theater, which has shown first-run films four days a week since October, will close Sunday.
“I’m hoping I can find a buyer,” said real estate agent Heather Boer, a long-time theater supporter and volunteer.
Boer was instrumental in helping Beverly Kessler open the theater after her husband, Ronald Kessler, died in 2009, just a few months after he purchased it.
Although the movie theater did well the first few months, Beverly Kessler found running the business too difficult, and the “warm weather” slow down too financially draining.
“I can understand her wanting to retire,” Boer said. “It’s just very sad for the community.”
The theater had been closed several years after the passing of Andy Huston, who died suddenly in 2008.
It was Ronald Kessler’s dream to reopen it, Beverly Kessler admitted in October, but he didn’t live to see it happen.
Ronald Kessler died just weeks after closing escrow.
With the help of volunteers, his widow opened Andy’s to a warm welcome from the community, and with a clean new look, a repaired roof and upgraded equipment; all of which Boer hopes will help attract another buyer.
The building, its improvements and all the new and refurbished equipment is included in the $297,000 asking price.
“It’s already to go,” Boer said. “It’s ready for someone to just walk in and run it.”
Andy’s closing was unhappy news to downtown businesses and Willows High School students, who enjoyed their last tri-tip sandwich on Friday.
It was also unhappy news to the theater’s employees.
“I’m pretty bummed,” said Haley Carney, who’s last day as manager was Friday. “But I think I’m more sad for the community. Andy’s is such a great place.”
Although the community is reeling by the immediate closure, Boer said people holding gift certificates will have to use them this weekend, before the final curtain comes down and the snack bar cranks out its last batch of popcorn.
The theater is showing two films today and Sunday; “The Lockout,” the new sci-fi, action thriller starring Guy Pearce and “The Lucky One,” a drama from the same writer as “The Notebook.”
“The Lucky One,” about US Marine who travels to Louisiana after serving three tours in Iraq to search for the unknown woman he believes was his good luck charm during the war, stars Zac Efron, Taylor Schiling and Blythe Danner.
The films are rated PG and PG13.
Despite the sluggish economy, Boer hasn’t given up on Willows having a successful movie house in the future.
“It’s just going to take someone enthusiastic and motivated,” she said.
Andy’s employed two full time employees, four part time employees and a bookkeeper, something Boer said is financially difficult for any small business to maintain.
Boer believes a dedicated owner – one who is able to work and who is committed to managing the theater – will have better success.