Our Town Cinemas celebrates one year

by Josh Lanier

DAVIDSON – It was a plot right out of a romantic comedy. After years of pining for a movie theater to anchor its up-and coming entertainment district, Davidson finds Our Town Cinemas.

On Christmas Day, Our Town Cinemas will celebrate its one-year anniversary in Saddlers Square, 227 Griffith St., in what has been a boon for nearby businesses. And now, at least a dozen other towns are lining up in the hopes of getting their own community theater.

“It’s a fairly old concept,” Jan Black, marketing director for the cinema, said. “Movie theaters used to be the hub of an old downtown. They were a social place that provided a sense of community that anchored the businesses around it.” Like those bygone theaters, Our Town Cinemas approaches movie-going as a more personal experience.

But they’ve added some newer takes on the experience, starting with the food. Our Towns serves pizza from Brickhouse Tavern, hamburgers from White Castle, beer and wine among the traditional movie theater fare. On a given weekend, patrons may be able to catch the latest releases on one screen and a black-and-white classic on another.

Last week, Our Town put “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the Jimmy Stewart Christmas standard, back on the big screen. “It’s a personal approach to movies,” Black said. “And we saw an immediate reaction from our guests to what we were trying to do. … And it’s been a great community- building experience.” About a dozen other municipalities in the Carolinas have reached out to Our Towns and asked for a theater of their own. Black declined to name any of the towns, but said each were interested in the theater to possibly anchor a Main Street or downtown shopping center.

Kris Krider, economic developer for Davidson, said the town hasn’t crunched the numbers of Our Town’s impact, but it’s added an important piece to the town’s entertainment draw.

“It’s an identity booster,” he said. “People from around the region are coming over to catch a movie at (Our Towns) and while there, they’re stopping at local restaurants or visiting local stores.”

Krider, who has visited the theater several times with his family, believes Our Towns and nearby Brickhouse Tavern have become the anchors for a budding mini-entertainment district.

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