A year ago Our Town Cinemas opened in Davidson, hoping to lure movie-goers to a venue unlike the area’s big megaplexes. As the theater celebrated its birthday last week, its chief said he’s pleased that his vision for a family-friendly environment has come to life.
Also this week, a preview of the Town of Davidson’s program Thursday, Dec. 9, featuring a visit by the director of the N.C. Main Street Program who will talk about how to improve and promote the town’s shopping district.
MOVIE THEATER IS 1
On Wednesday, Our Town Cinemas invited local business owners, investors and friends for a 1st anniversary party and special screening of the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” At least 100 people were there for the festivities, which included birthday cake and a chilly ribbon-cutting out front at Sadler Square, off Griffith Street.
The theater opened last December (see Dec. 24, 2009, “A holiday gift for Davidson: New cinema.”) It’s smaller than most conventional theaters, with four screens – two with about 40 seats each and two of about 80 seats. Each screening room has a mix of auditorium-style seats as well as swivel chairs and bistro tables.
Our Town Cinemas shows first-run movies when they come out, and also has screened local movies, classic films, and special events. Some residents even packed the theater for last summer’s World Cup soccer matches in a fund-raiser for a local charity.
“What I envisioned is working,” said Curtis Fainn, a theater-industry veteran who runs the theater. He said the theater has attracted a nice cross-section of moviegoers in its first year, from families and couples to college students and young adults.
He said he’s talked to couples who have returned to movie-going after not seeing movies in years, as well as families who arrive together – but see different movies. “They’ll go and watch a movie for themselves, and they allow the kids to see something else,” Mr. Fainn said.
“That nails exactly what I was trying to create – that environment,” he said.
Our Town Cinemas offers more than just the usual snack-bar fare, too. The menu includes beer and wine, gourmet pretzels, pizza from the nearby Brickhouse Tavern, White Castle hamburgers and Nathan’s hot dogs.
The birthday celebration continues this week, as Our Town Cinemas brings the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” back to the big screen (yes, the screens are large). It will be on view from Dec 10-16. Tickets to all shows are $7, with $1 from each ticket going Toys for Tots and the Ada Jenkins Center.
Meanwhile, based on their success in Davidson, Mr. Fainn and his colleagues are hoping to take their concept to other markets. They’re currently looking at opportunities in other small towns in the Carolinas. Mr. Fainn wouldn’t give details last week.
N.C. MAIN STREET DIRECTOR HERE THURSDAY
Liz Parham, director of the N.C. Main Street Program, will be in Davidson Thursday for a meeting where she’ll offer advice to merchants and citizens about how to improve and promote Davidson’s shopping district. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at Davidson Town Hall, 216 S. Main St.
Ms. Parham will talk about grants and other resources available through the town’s participation in the N.C. Main Street Program. The meeting is free.
“Liz Parham’s presentation should be the beginning of what we hope will be a continuing discussion of how we can improve our downtown district,” Interim Downtown Director Kim Fleming said in a press release.
The Dec. 9 presentation is the first in a series of events the Town of Davidson is hosting on topics relevant to small town development. Info on the town website.
MAIN STREET GRANTS AVAILABLE
The Town of Davidson is seeking applicants for the 2011 Main Street Solutions Small Business Grants Program and is looking for qualified business owners to participate.
The program is intended to strengthen the local economy, incentivize downtown business development, and create jobs. It can help local business grow and prosper in Davidson by providing matching grants, up to $200,000 for construction, renovation or rehabilitation projects that also create jobs.
If you have a project for a new business or expansion of an existing business, and it is not under bid or construction, you are encouraged to apply. Applications for the first round of the program are due Dec. 15. They will be reviewed by the Davidson Selection Team, which will determine if the projects qualify for submission to the N.C. Main Street Program by their deadline of Feb. 10.
More information and applications are available on the town website, or call Sandy Kragh at 704-892-7592.
SNAP FITNESS EXPANDS
Snap Fitness, on Harbour Place Drive off I-77 Exit 30, has complete renovations on its enlarged space and is moving in new equipment in preparation for an expanded lineup of programming. Co-owner Amie Cennamo said this weekend the work is complete and the fitness center is preparing for the start of new classes. In an announcement last month, she said those would include TRX Suspension Training System, Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, Tai Chi and a variety of boot camps all led by Certified Personal Trainers. Read more on our Health & Fitness page.