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|Home: BigScreen Journal - Berlin and Lancaster, NH: TBA Theatres Closes Berlin and Lancaster Locations|
On September 8, 2011, TBA Theatres announced the closure of TBA Theatres - Princess Theatre in Berlin and TBA Theatres - Rialto Theatre in Lancaster, New Hampshire respectively. The announcement was posted on their web site:
After 5 years operating in Northern NH, TBA Theatres has been forced to permanently close its operations in Lancaster and Berlin. This was not an easy decision and we struggled for a long time to keep from having to face this unfortunate reality.
In 2007, TBA Theatres burst into the North Country by purchasing the Rialto Theatre in Lancaster. Within two years, a second location, The Princess Theatre in Berlin, joined the family by popular demand from the local community. Times were good. Attendance was growing. We introduced never before seen events into the area like the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Concerts, DVD Premieres, free film series, celebrity appearances, parade participation, interactive experiences, decorated (themed) lobby displays and first class customer service. In addition: the community services we provided with free tickets to Students of the month, discounts to students on the honor roll, work training for some very special students, high school chorus and band fundraisers, free ticket donations to several charity events around town, sponsorship of the Lancaster Fair and our biggest fundraiser of the year, Toys for Tots, where we were consistently one of the largest collectors of toys for the program in the North Country every year (tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of toys were collected).
We never had a significant service complaint, and we responded to every email that came into our customer service email personally.
After year three, things changed. Movie theatre attendance nationally started to decline. Theatres in the lowest populated areas were hit the hardest. Our locations in Lancaster and Berlin were no exception. In year four, to help address this growing problem, we converted to a seasonal operation since winters were the worst time of year and it was best that we not open during this period. This proved to help us remain in operation and with the help of the communities of the North Country this past spring, we were able to raise enough funds to open both theatres for the summer of 2011. Regrettably, national attendance numbers hadn’t improved and our theatres in Lancaster and Berlin followed the trend. Despite a few “good” (revenue producing) films, the company was not able to raise enough revenues to maintain an operation during the coming fall and winter, or sustain the facilities seasonally until the holiday season.
It has come time to let go. We, the owners of TBA Theatres, would like to express our deepest disappointments that we were unable to restore the cinemas to their former glory. There are many challenges to operating a small movie house and we gave everything we had to try to make it work. For any of you who know us personally, you know our passion for this business and understand our pain in making this difficult decision. There are many things we could have done differently, but none of them could have assured success. We made the best decisions we could at the time and do not regret a single one of them.
Effective today, The Rialto and The Princess are dark. (A free film will be run at the Rialto on Saturday. Check our home page for details.)
We’d like to thank our current and former employees for all that they had done to help create the “TBA Experience” and bring it to every guest, consistently, every day. We would like to thank them for the sacrifices they have made to help us remain in business for as long as we were able. We’d like to thank the families of these fine employees for their assistance with various items that helped us continue our operations uninterrupted. We’d like to thank our vendors, who were patient with us and cooperative during our challenging winter seasons. You all know what is meant by the phrase “The Show Must Go On” and you lived up to it every day. We’d also like to thank our guests and the communities of Lancaster and Berlin for graciously accepting us into your city/town and supporting us. Lastly, we wish all our friends in the North Country the best and hope the next owners have a better opportunity to restore the theatres to their former glory.
Their remaining location, the TBA Theatres - Lilac Mall Cinema in Rochester, New Hampshire is still open.
Moviegoers in Berlin and Lancaster will have to do some driving to see a movie, with the Casablanca Cinema 4 in Bethel, Maine and The Colonial Theatre in Bethlehem, New Hampshire as the closest choices, both about a half hour or more away.
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