Ward 4 Councilwoman Meghan Efland announced at the Chestertown Town Council meeting Monday that Cambridge, MA-based Flagship Cinemas will reopen the theater at Washington Square Shopping Center starting July. The theater is in her ward.
“This is very exciting,” she said. “I know we’ve all missed our theater.”
The theater’s former operator, Chesapeake Movies, shut down in March of 2020 under Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive order to combat further spread of COVID-19.
Flagship Cinemas has been in business for over 25 years and has annual revenues of $23 million. The company operates in Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida. Flagship’s Maryland locations include Easton, Cambridge and Ocean City.
“We are really excited to be in Chestertown,” said Flagship VP Andrew Poore in an interview on Wednesday. He said the company plans to open the theater in mid-July.
Flagship secured a lease with the Washington Square owner, Silicato Development, about two months ago and the theater has already filled 12-15 full and part-time positions, Poore said.
He said the lobby was undergoing a makeover to give it a “softer look” and a bar has been built to offer beer and wine sales once a license from the county is obtained.
In addition to offering online reserved ticket sales, there will be two self-service kiosks available in the lobby, Poore said.
The theater will also offer Bargain Tuesdays “when all seats and all show times will have one reduced price,” Poore said.
In old business on the theater, the town still owes roughly $50,000 on a $75,000 loan the town secured for Chesapeake Movies for renovations of the theater. The town was paying the loan back to the county with amusement tax receipts it collected from ticket sales — and had paid over $20,000 on the loan before the pandemic forced the theater to close.
Last fall the Kent County Commissioners were not in a hurry to be paid back in light of the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The county is not pressuring the town for repayment of the loan at this time,” Commissioner Ron Fithian said in November of last year. “We will revisit the loan when the theater is up and running again.”