The Roxy Theater, a Shelby staple, is in danger of closing.
“We’ve watched eight businesses close within the last year,” resident Ceilon Aspensen said. “I feel like without the movie theater, our town has no sticking power for new residents or new businesses.”
But The Roxy will stay open if ‘The Friends of The Roxy’ have any say.
“I feel like the movie theater is a linchpin for Shelby,” Aspensen said.
Aspensen and others are doing what they can to save it.
“I grew up here, and when I was a little girl going to The Roxy was huge,” Corinne Kanning said.
“I think it would be a terrible loss to the community to lose a theater,” RJ Burns said. “I’d put this up against any theater I’ve ever been to and I’ve been to a lot of theaters.”
But the theater comes with a hefty price tag.
The theater loses $30,000 a year.
“They only make half of what they need to cover their basic expenses and break even,” Aspensen said.
About 18% of Shelby’s population needs to see a movie once a month. That’s 75 people to make $577 a week just to break even.
“My husband and I walked from that end of Main Street down and then back. We counted 14 closed businesses. Just between Fourth Avenue and Montana Avenue on Main Street. When you see empty store fronts like that, no new business is going to want to come here because it looks like were dying. If The Roxy goes, then it really looks like we're dying,” Aspensen said.
The movie-goers started a Facebook page that currently has more than 200 likes. They plan to use it to post upcoming movies, ways to donate, and fundraisers.
“I feel like especially in little towns like this, narrative is really important, and I think that’s my connection to the movies. I really love stories,” Aspensen said.
“I worked here in high school. That was like half a century ago. I’m really dating myself there. I did everything here,” Burns said.
“Teenagers used to date and go to the movies. I don’t think they do as much as now, but we would like to bring that back,” Kanning said.
To The Roxy supporters. It’s an easy fix.
“The biggest thing is, go to the movies. Go to the movies and buy concessions. People sneak in their drinks and snacks. Buy concessions. That’s the biggest money maker for the theater,” Kanning.
The Roxy is located at 231 Main St. in Shelby.