Theater's new owners plan upgrades

DALLAS -- Jeff and Robin Mexico already were the owners of successful single-screen movie theaters in Stayton and Albany.

DALLAS -- Jeff and Robin Mexico already were the owners of successful single-screen movie theaters in Stayton and Albany.

They hope to make it a hat trick after taking over operation of the Fox Theatre in Dallas.

"The appeal is the price," Jeff Mexico said, comparing the allure of smaller theaters compared to the giant multi-plexes.

"Ticket prices are lower, and the concession prices are drastically lower. The quality of service you'll get will be better. People can drop off their kids there and feel safe to come back and pick them up later. You can't do that at the big cine-plex."

The couple took over the Fox Theatre, Movie Vu Drive In and Courtyard Coffeehouse from former owner Ron Burch on Oct. 1. Burch has moved on to pursue other business interests in Las Vegas.

"We met Ron about five years ago," Mexico said. "He asked us to take (the businesses) over, bring them back to life and keep them going. We always thought it would be fun to have a drive in. The land now is worth more money for houses, so it's hard to create one. It does real well during the summer. People come from all over - Washington, California and Idaho - to visit this drive in.

"The single-screen theater is just like our other two. The coffee shop was just part of the package, but now we're glad to have it. We're having a good time, remodeling it and working with it. It's already getting more business than it used to."

The Mexicos have added to the menu at the coffee shop, and the name accordingly has been updated to the Courtyard Coffeehouse & Deli.

There also will be plenty of changes at the Fox Theatre as well. The audio and video systems already have been upgraded, and the theater closed for a week starting Oct. 26 to allow for a number of other improvements.

"We're refurbishing the snack bar, installing all new concession equipment," Mexico said. "We're putting cup holders on all the seats. When people walk in, they'll notice fresh paint. They'll notice the sound and video quality is a lot better, especially the sound. They'll notice the concession prices are a lot lower.

"We've lowered the prices to the same as our other two theaters. We'll have a Kids Meal where they can get popcorn, candy and a soda for $2. We're making it a lot more affordable."

The Fox Theatre will reopen Friday, Nov. 2 with Jerry Seinfeld's Bee Movie, expected to be the first hit of the holiday movie viewing season.

The theater will be open seven days a week, with matinees on the weekends. There will be monthly showings of classic movies. The facility can be rented for business meetings, birthdays and other gatherings.

The Motor Vu Drive In is closed for the season and will reopen in March or April. Changes are planned there, too, including turning the snack bar into a 1950s-style diner.


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