Movie-goers can anticipate a more comfortable experience when visiting Hickory Ridge Cinemas in Brunswick in the near future.
With an investment of about $300,000, a theater renovation project will include electric recliners and cushioned seats replacing the low-back, fold-down auditorium seating that has been in place since 1992.
“Our original goal was to do all recliners but due to the layout (of the theaters), we have to bring in other seating to fill the other parts of the theater,” co-owner John Christy said.
The theater consists of eight screens with a variety of seating in each room. The smallest room has 70 seats and the largest has 300.
Because the new seating will be larger in size, each theater will lose about half of the seats.
“Nearly half will be recliners and the other half will be (cushioned seats),” Christy said. “It will vary with each theater depending on the layout.”
Christy said the theater hasn’t been upgraded or renovated in nearly 30 years. The Medina County auditor’s website says the theater was built in 1974.
“There have been a lot of folks in the seats. … They’re wearing down and showing their age,” Christy said. “That’s the main reason why we wanted to go with the premium seating.”
Along with the new seating, Christy said there will be an option for customers to reserve their seats ahead of time when they purchase tickets.
The goal is to have all new seating installed by spring.
“The big catch is the financing,” Christy said. “Once we get the green light, it takes five weeks to deliver after the order is put in.”
Christy added the theater will not be closed during renovations.
“The plan is to remove one theater at a time or two smaller (theaters) at a time,” Christy said. “That theater might not be showing a movie that week.”
Christy, of Bowling Green, is a co-owner with his aunt and uncle, Keven and Sue Christy, of Michigan, since April 2015. The theater previously was owned by an out-of-town husband and wife team for seven years.
After installing premium seating, a second renovation phase includes remodeling the interior of the entire theater including flooring, carpet runners and wall finishes, Christy said.
The third phase will be to upgrade the sound systems.
“The smaller theaters have one speaker doing the job that three speakers do now,” Christy said. “Putting in three speakers will give a better all-around experience.”
Replacing some of the movie screens also is being discussed.
“Screens are on an individual basis,” Christy said. “We’ve talked about making some larger but some are as wide as they can go. That’s (a) progressive (project).”
Adding more food options to concessions is another consideration, with the possibility of a bar for adults.
“That’s a long-term project within the next couple years,” Christy said. “It will take some time to get an alcohol permit.”
Since the Christys became owners, they have installed new carpeting in the hallways, added a slushie machine to concessions, a 3-D unit to one theater and online ticketing system.
“We want a better presentation from start to finish from the moment folks walk in the door to the moment they walk out,” Christy said.
The theater, 1055 Pearl Road, shows newly released films including those in 3-D.
For movie times and to purchase tickets in advance, visit www.hickoryridgemovies.com.
Contact reporter Halee Heironimus at (330) 721-4012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.