By Marjorie Woodfin
Pilot staff writer
Those in the Brookings-Harbor community who have complained for years about the bright pink color of the movie theater are probably relieved to see that the current remodel includes a new and less colorful exterior.
They might also be surprised to learn that it was a consultant who chose that color. Theater owner Tim Patterson said recently that even he wondered about it when the consultant suggested pink. "But, he was right then. Now that everyone knows where the theater is, it doesn't need to be pink."
Patterson said he came to Brookings in 1993 and started Harborside Internet. "There was no Internet service in the area," he said. "We went from zero customers in 1993 to 6,000 when we sold the business in 1999.
After the sale of Harborside, when he and his wife, Cynthia Chi, and his daughter and son-in-law, Cynthia and Jess Beaman, discovered that John Babin wanted to sell the theater, they said, "Why not."
Patterson said that the purchase of the theater was almost like starting a hobby and they didn't really expect to get rich. The plan was to remodel and improve service at the theater, and the first phase, begun shortly after purchase, included new seats, new sound system, and the pink paint.
The recent opportunity to take advantage of funding available from the City Urban Renewal Agency for one-half of faade redevelopment projects up to $20,000 and within certain guidelines, helped to encourage the current remodeling project.
"The primary issue was financial," Patterson said. "We needed to build the second screen for economic reasons."
He explained that the arrangement with his distributor requires him to keep movies for two weeks. "But in all small towns, most of the customers have seen the new movie by the end of the first week," he said. "With two screens we can have a new one each week."
Patterson said that when they began the plans to build a second screen, "We decided to remodel everything, and we contacted Tony Barron and Jeremy James to provide the design."
The project includes the new exterior and extra screen, plus reconfigured lobby, a meeting room for parties and videoconferences, satellite for broadcast sports, new restrooms, and adding to the snack bar with upcoming hot dogs and ice cream.
"It's worked out so well," Patterson said. "The second screen has certainly worked out from our point of view and from the point of view of customers. They are seeing more movies and we have more customers."
Patterson said future plans include going digital and having three theaters or four screens. "We have other visions for next door a McMenamins-style bar with food and beverage, live theater and clean adult entertainment," Patterson said.
"We may be forced into going digital, and we won't go easily," he said, indicating the cost would probably be approximately $80,000.
Patterson said he believes that the Borax development will revitalize this retirement community. "We will be racing around in about four years," he said.
His plans for extended expansion and new and exciting services will be timed with the Borax development. "We will begin when Borax turns the first spade of earth," he said.
In the meantime, Brookings-Harbor moviegoers will have a choice of films to see with the two screens operating, and a new movie almost every week. "We were only getting about 24 different titles including 15 new releases a year and now we're getting about 40, with 35 of them new releases," Patterson said.
Customers can now enjoy more films and look forward to more snack bar choices plus opportunities for birthday and other special occasion parties right here, right now, in downtown Brookings, with visions of bigger, better, and more exciting things to come.