VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The only movie theater at the Oceanfront closed Wednesday, but is set to reopen Friday with new owners.
The Beach Movie Bistro in the 900 block of Laskin Road announced on their Facebook page on July 19 that they are no longer operating. The nearly 80 employees who staffed the theater only found out they lost their jobs late Tuesday night.
“Honestly, I was upset, annoyed and just sad,” said Austin Miller, who worked at the theater for nearly two years. “I was planning on making at least $20 today — not including hourly, just tips — and now I’ve got to figure out how to pay my bills in the next two/three weeks… hopefully get a job in that time frame.”
The theater, where you could catch dinner and a movie, first started in 2011. Hours before the announcement on Facebook, the theater was encouraging people to come out for the weekend’s newest releases. The theater’s website is no longer in service either. It appears their Facebook page has been deleted as well.
10 On Your Side spoke with the theater owner, Don Pollard.
“You just get to a point where you run out of money, you run out of funds to continue the operation,” Pollard said.
Pollard said he tried everything to keep the theater open, but ultimately had to close. He said while Beach Movie Bistro was the first in the area to serve alcohol and food, now national chains in the area do the same and his six-screen theater could no longer compete with the megaplex competitors.
“It gets difficult very quickly when you do experience prolonged period of slower business,” he said.
While 10 On Your Side was speaking with employees, they received an email telling them the theater has already been bought.
WAVY News learned Thursday that ownership was transferred to a new partnership of longtime movie theater executives, Tim Reed and Robert Perkins. The theater will reopen Friday and will have a new name: Beach Cinema Alehouse.
“This facility has earned a well-deserved reputation as the Oceanfront’s favorite movie theater, and we couldn’t be more excited about honoring that tradition,” said Perkins. “Tim and I look forward to providing the same services and amenities customers are accustomed to, while adding future improvement to further enhance customers’ movie-going experience.”