The Columbia City Cinema is taking a last stab at saving itself. This time, it’s selling off its seats.
The fundraising effort is the latest attempt by the iconic theater to generate enough money to keep its doors open. Earlier this year, owner Paul Doyle announced customers could buy stock in the theater. State regulators objected to that concept, but now Doyle has a new idea.
The message that went out to supporters this week: “Hooray! We’ve figured out how to save the cinema. But it’s going to take every one of you, or it won’t work. And it needs to happen now.”
Doyle set a Jan. 1 deadline for raising $50,000. That amount would buy the theater enough time to remain open indefinitely in 2011 while fundraising continues.
Selling seats might not be as novel as creating a Green Bay Packers-style model for shared ownership, but Doyle writes on the theater’s blog that it’s a last chance for supporters to save the movie house.
So, boring as it is, please send money again and buy a seat. Seats, it turns out, are a hundred dollars each. So if you want to guarantee a seat for yourself after January 1, you’d better buy one. After the cinema is saved and the stock offering is approved, we’ll buy the seats back from you, terms to be decided later. Or you can keep them.
The good news is you won’t have to do anything about the seats. We will store them and clean them for you for free. In fact, it’s sort of symbolic. You have to leave them and let other people use them. But they can still be yours. We’ll even put your name on them if you want.
The cinema’s trouble isn’t an isolated event — it’s a symptom of a larger change taking place in Seattle. For more about the woes of independent theaters, read this story