Coming Attraction — Movie Theater to Reopen!

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The old Chester 5 Theatres will become the new Chesapeake 5 Theatres – opening late November 2017

The movies are returning to Chestertown!

Chesapeake Theaters, Inc., a new company, has formed to re-open, refurbish, and operate the old Chester 5 Theatre in Washington Square in Chestertown. Their license application was submitted to the town yesterday and immediately thereafter work began in the theater building.  The company expects to have the theater open in time for Thanksgiving when theaters traditionally do a large share of their annual business.  At the latest, it should be open for the Christmas season.  It all depends on the progress of the construction.  The new complex will be named Chesapeake 5 Theatres.

The old chairs ready to be carted out.

The renovation began yesterday,  a representative of the company told the Spy on Wednesday, Sept.20.  The seats are already unbolted from the floors in 4 of the 5 theaters in the complex.  In the next week or so, he said, the entire theater will be essentially gutted – drapes pulled down, carpeting ripped up.  Then the remodeling and refurbishing can begin. When finished, the theater will have new floors, carpeting, seats, wall coverings, marquees, projection screens — “new everything,” the representative said. The restrooms and concession stand will also be brand new. ‘It’s not going to look like anything you’ve ever seen.” he said.

The new rocker chairs – 44 inches from floor to top of headrest – with padded arm-rests and headrests.

The five new theaters will be in the same spaces as previously – no walls will be removed. Each theater will have brand-new, 44-inch high rocker-chairs with padded arm-rests that can be raised or lowered.  Each arm-rest has a cup holder.  Initially, all the seating will be rocker-chairs.  However, the company has special luxury recliners on order.  When those arrive, in approximately 2-3 months, the rockers will be removed from the back half of each of the five theaters and the recliners installed.

The concession stand will offer a much more varied menu than the previous theater. Along with the usual popcorn and candy, the new expanded menu will include pizza, hamburgers, fries, mozzarella sticks, and chicken tenders. There will be special trays that fit into the cup holders on the theater seats so patrons can eat while watching. Alternatively, they will be able to sit at a table in the dining area of the lobby while waiting for their show to begin. The company representative said the theater might apply for a liquor license at some point but has not made that decision yet. One of the reasons cited for the closure of the Chester 5 complex was the availability of beer and wine at the competing Middletown theaters.

The new theater has already re-hired the former manager for the Chester 5 Theatres.  According to their representative, they will be looking to hire about a dozen more employees.

The principals of Chesapeake Theaters, Inc, a small independent company formed to operate the new theater complex, have had substantial theater experience, including operating other theaters in Maryland. The company representative said that they are very impressed with Chestertown and want to be a community-oriented company.   They are also open to holding fund-raisers for community organizations, especially anything that benefits children, such as the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts.

The old Chester 5 Theatres closed Sunday, June 4, 2017, without any advance notice. At the time, theater manager Charlene Fowler said business had been slowly declining for about five years. She attributed the change in part to competition from the newer movie theater in Middletown, Del., which had a more up-to-date facility and a liquor license.

Let the show begin!

Photography by Peter Heck and Jane Jewell.  Special thanks to Chestertown Spies Alexander and Emma for their hot tips and timely info!

Old Chester 5 theatre room

Old seats partially dismantled.

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Letters to Editor

  1. gretchen stroh says:

    So happy…I honestly thought I’d never get to see another movie in a theater setting. (I just can’t bring myself to drive 45 miles to middletown)…..I’m sure the days of 4.25$ matinees are gone…please Kent County support this new business

  2. Great news.
    A 21st century entertainment venue for KC.
    Is it too early to stand on line for tickets?

  3. Les Moorhouse says:

    Yippie! Yippie!! Yippie!!!! When God closes a door, he opens a movie theater somewhere!!!!

  4. Martha Wefelmeyer says:

    Thank you so much!!!! This truly made my day brighter!

  5. Kay MacIntosh says:

    Great news! Welcome Chesapeake Theaters, and good luck with the renovation schedule.

  6. susan newton-rhodes says:

    Yeah Chestertown! We will be the first in line for popcorn….

  7. This is wonderful news. Chestertown is a great place to do business. Congratulations and best of luck to Chesapeake Theaters, Inc! (we’ll see you at the movies)

    Warmest regards,
    Jenn Baker
    Chester River Wine & Cheese Co. | Welcome Home

  8. Beth Everett says:

    This is so encouraging! With businesses in the county closing or thinking of moving, it’s wonderful to see someone who sees potential in Chestertown! Thanks for believing in us, we won’t let you down!

  9. Michael H C McDowell says:

    This is wonderful news! We arrived in Chestertown on June 2 and were disappointed to see the theaters closed. We haven’t seen a real cinema movie since then! Kudos to the new operators. We will be regular customers. No question. And we are sure others will support the new venture.

  10. I am so excited, this is wonderful news. Thank you so much Chesapeake Theatres!!

  11. rachel goss says:

    Very exciting! Thank you to the Principals of CT!

    ps. Please leave the liquor licenses to the restaurants and bars. 🙂

  12. Charles Athey says:

    This is great news! Looking forward to checking it out over the holidays!

  13. CAROL BROWN says:

    YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. any info on how to apply

  15. Barbara in den Bosch says:

    Yeah! Thank you so much! And thank you for hiring the former manager!

  16. David James says:

    Everybody that was saddened at the theater’s closing should do everything they can to support the new effort. I know that I will.

  17. Yay!!!!

  18. Fantastic ! I’m not interested in driving to Middletown to see a movie. I’ll be happy to support this and look forward to the opening.

  19. Deirdre LaMotte says:

    Fantastic news!!! No more late night trips back from Middletown……

  20. Such great news! My children and their terrible taste in movies (and willingness to enjoy multiple showings) are very excited that we no longer have to drive to Middletown for a show! I guess I can’t use the distance as an excuse not to see the next Emoji movie anymore. The more comfortable seats will be a blessing…

  21. Marty Stetson says:

    The number of remarks made indicates just how much the loss of the movies disappointed the citizens of the area. It is nice that it will be renovated and brought up to the standards of the competitors in other areas. You will no longer have to drive over an hour round trip to see a movie.

  22. Eliott fuhrman says:

    Great work done by economic development group Kent county and chestertown having done some event booking there is a HUGHE opportunity to have one or two screens hooked up to(live nations) concerts just think can see live Bruce in concert ,or operas lve

  23. Marty Stetson says:

    This is great, it is nice to know you do not have to drive a round trip of an hour to see a movie. I do not go often but much more inclined to go when the movie I wish to see is right here in town.

  24. Karen Smith says:

    Hurray! I hope everyone supports the new owners. So nice to be able to see a movie locally again. I would never drive to Middletown or Dover for a movie.

  25. Melinda Bookwalter says:

    WaHOOO!!

  26. kelli truax says:

    This is great news! Is there contact information for applying for a job?

  27. I wonder if the authors of this story could elaborate a bit more on the new owners? I understand they may be connected to the owners of the Middletown movie theater…. if that is the case I think, given how nice that facility is, we will all have a decent movie theater to enjoy.

  28. You have my support, my company brand will market promo ads and more. As a native of KC, I can’t wait to hear a little jazz, country, and R&B soul (other times with other music such as millennial-music likes)–while waiting for the show to begin. This social venue is so needed! I hope constituents show their appreciation by keeping the facilities and grounds clean.

  29. I would love to see the renovation make the theater look like a 1920s-30s theater. It would be the perfect decor.

  30. Linda G. Weimer says:

    To the reporting/writers:
    Congrats on this scoop, which is also a bit of very welcome news! There have been far too many commercial/retail closings in town in the past several years. But why the anonymous sources? If this company is truly experienced, why not name their other locations? If, as seems apparent, the representative demanded anonymity, the normal practice would have been to state that explicitly.
    Linda G. Weimer

  31. To the Editors of The Chestertown Spy.

    Why has this story disappeared from the front page? I see that comments were posted as late as yesterday, September 28th. Has the interest about a new picture venue waned so rapidly in the past two weeks? There are stories on the main page from back in January 18, 2017. Are you readying a new story about the owners and their intentions for the movie house so you wish to make room on your front page? I believe that there is an ongoing interest in what’s happening at Washington Square.

    Thank you for your response.

    • Ann Miller says:

      I am curious as well as to the disappearance of this article from the the Spy website….especially odd given the longevity of some of the other time-sensitive articles that are still posted. Why is it “bad news” that the new owners may be the same who own the Middletown theater? (and if not, even more curious….). That movie theater is doing a thriving business and was well received, so I find it hard to believe that the same wouldn’t be seen here in Chestertown. Although who knows – perhaps the citizens of C-Town prefer a villain to demoniz,e and all the sudden the rebirth of the theaters, which was lauded immediately, will no longer be welcomed with opened arms if it is determined that the owners are the same as the evil middletown movie theater owners. As you know, all things in Middletown are evil town-killing, small business-killing ogres.
      Why does it appear as though Chestertown continually shoots it’s self in the foot with these things? Wake up Chestertown, we aren’t Annapolis. We aren’t Williamsburg. We won’t ever be, no matter how hard you try. And many of us would welcome a small bit of expansion.
      Chestertown Spy, Ms. Jewell – please consider putting this back on the site. It really comes off odd that you have bumped it off…no very objective, uh?

      • Peter Heck says:

        The story hasn’t gone anywhere — click on the NEWS tab at the top of the page and you’ll find it in “Occurrences” — it’s the third story down in the right column. Stories move off the front page as newer material is posted; that’s all that’s happened here. And there will be followups to the story as they approach completion.

        • Ann Miller says:

          It’s odd that it disappeared from the front page, when there are stories about events that happened back in June still up there. At least it is odd to me, admittedly I’m not newspaper – physical or digital – expert. So perhaps that is just the way things work.
          Regardless – good luck to Chesapeake Movies, Inc. If they can provide a product in Chestertown similar to what they’ve been able to deliver in Middletown, then I think we will all be very happy with the new theaters. Maybe this small step in the right direction will help bring a bit of growth to our area.

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