Sumner Sunset Theatre moves to reopen Grand Theatre
OELWEIN, IA — The Sumner Sunset Theatre, a non profit community based organization, is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Oelwein theatre complex effective 1 February 2010. The acquisition was made possible in large part by a funding grant from the Northeast Iowa Charitable foundation and the cooperation of the current complex owner, Fridley Theatres.
The Sunset Theatre has successfully operated a 99 movie house in a restored single screen cinema in Sumner for approximately five years. Community leaders in Oelwein approached the Sunset for assistance when it learned Fridley was interested in selling the property to a community based group as an alternative to shutting down the complex.
In conjunction with concerned citizens of Oelwein, the Sunset theatre has developed a plan to continue first run movie service at the Oelwein location. “Family focused 99 cent movies remain the core of the Sumner location,” noted Doyle Wegner, president of the organization. “We intend to continue to offer first run movies at the current prices at the Oelwein complex.”
As the theatre transitions from current operations to a community based project, some changes will be needed. Roger Beane of Oelwein is coordinating volunteers to help with the concessions and ticketing work. The theatre intends to continue to use DECA students to provide entry level work experience. The majority of the staff will be retained after the transition.
The name of the theatre will be restored to the “The Grand.” Any one with memorabilia or photos of The Grand are invited share them as the organization looks to incorporate elements of The Grand back into the theatre. The theatre will “go dark” for a short time period to allow for the training of volunteers and installation of new concessions and minor repairs. A grand reopening will be scheduled at a later date.