Business

A new life for East Bremerton theater

Stephanie Peterson, left, and Otis Shine work together to install new high-back recliner chairs in one of Olympic Cinema’s four theaters. The chairs are more spaced out than they were previously, making for increased leg room. - Photo by Kassie Korich
Stephanie Peterson, left, and Otis Shine work together to install new high-back recliner chairs in one of Olympic Cinema’s four theaters. The chairs are more spaced out than they were previously, making for increased leg room.
— image credit: Photo by Kassie Korich

Out of sight and out of mind for a couple of years now, the summer movie season means new life for the former Redwood Cinemas.

Old and worn out, the four-screen theater on Riddell Road has been completely gutted and remodeled. Renamed Olympic Cinemas, everything from the wallpaper and auditorium interiors to the projection screens and chairs is being replaced.

“We’re taking it down to a shell,” said Jeff Brein, president of Faraway Productions, the theater’s new managing company.

David Fazende, a partner in the company, is confident the additions, which also include a state-of-the-art projection system and Dolby Digital Surround Sound, will bring moviegoers back to the theater.

“When we’re done, this will be the nicest theater in this whole area,” he said. “We’re not sparing any expense.”

Olympic Cinemas will feature first-run films with at least four movies — and as many as seven — playing at a time.

The approximately $300,000 remodel is nearing completion with an expected opening date of Friday, June 9 — just in time for the highly anticipated Disney/Pixar film “Cars.”

“It’s expected to be a big hit,” Fazende said.

When Brein and Fazende agreed to remodel the theater they knew they had to do something different.

“The big question is, ‘What can we do differently?,” Brein said. “What makes a theater successful is an environment that is fresh, clean and locally owned. This theater was very, very worn out.”

Built in the late 1970s, the theater has gone through multiple owners with Jack Ondracek — co-owner of the Rodeo Drive In of Gorst — the most recent.

“If you want to see ‘The Da Vinci Code’ you have a lot of choices,” Brein said. “But people will drive further to go to a nice theater. The first thing we did was tell the owner (Cascade Properties of Portland, Ore.) the only way it could be successful was if it was totally redone. ‘Totally’ was the key.”

Neither Brein nor Fazende are new to the theater business. Based in Kitsap County, Faraway Productions owns and operates theaters in Bainbridge Island, Seattle, Stanwood, Anacortes, Oak Harbor and Ocean Shores.

“Our group has a lot of experience,” Brein said. “We have eight theaters now and we’re looking to grow.”

Although the theater has been closed for a couple of years, Brein is not worried about keeping customers once they see the changes — the key will be bringing moviegoers back.

“The goal will be to get people back to the theater and once they see the improvements made, we’re going to regain an awful lot of loyalty,” he said. “They have to feel comfortable and have to feel at home.”

Like other Faraway theaters, Olympic Cinemas will be highly involved in community activities including various fund-raisers and special events. Unlike corporate-owned theaters, decisions are made locally, making for timely responses, according to Fazende.

Olympic Cinemas will be open seven days a week, 365 days a year and will offer discounts for children, seniors and military personnel. Ticket prices will be comparable to area theaters. Olympic Cinemas is now hiring and those interested should stop by the theater before Saturday and speak with Fazende.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Nov 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates