AMES, Iowa- After being closed since 2014, the North Grand Cinema reopens on Friday December 1.
Lee and Diane Akin are the new owners of the theater. They operate a single screen movie theater in Elkader, and a six screen theater in Prairie Du Chien, WI.
They decided it would be good to reopen this five screen theater in Ames.
“One of the strengths of it is it’s in the mall and mall’s going through a great transition here, it’s got new ownership,” said Lee. “Ames is growing and expanding, especially in this direction.”
North Grand Cinema now has all new plush recliners, new screens, and new laser projectors. There will also be a bar, and popcorn and candy. Plans call for a kitchen to open eventually.
Most small businesses have to struggle to find employees, but that wasn’t the case here.
“We were concerned, but we got a lot of applications,” said Diane. “I think there’s a lot of people out there who like movies, who know there’s some perks to being an employee at the movie theater.”
The plans are to show first run movies, but the couple does not rule out trying some other types of films. They get to decide what plays in their operation, but they also have to choose whatever the distributor has to offer.
Even in an era when Netflix and streaming video rule, they predict a demand for a traditional movie viewing venue in Ames.
“You may have a nice big screen TV but it’s not the same as the group experience, and everyone laughing together, or screaming together, experiencing a movie together,” said Diane.