Couple to reopen 95-year-old theater in Pryor
BY RHETT MORGAN World Staff Writer
Thursday, November 29, 2012
PRYOR – A Vinita couple with cinema interests in northeastern Oklahoma and Arkansas has signed a lease to reopen the 95-year-old Allred Theater, which went out of business in mid-August.
Robert and Angie Jones, who own Vinita-based Center Cinemas, plan to open three digital screens of the Allred at 6:30 p.m. Friday with showings of “Skyfall,” “Breaking Dawn Part 2” and “Red Dawn, ” Angie Jones said this morning. Last week, they signed a one-year lease and intend to try to purchase the property when Century Bank of Oklahoma offers it for sale as early as February, she said.
“My husband used to come to movies here and he’s always been interested in it,” she said. “... We’re excited to be here.”
The Jones also operate theaters in Vinita, Grove and Siloam Springs, Ark. They plan to open the two-screen annex portion of the theater in a week or so, Angie said.
“We’ve been cleaning for six days,” she said. “We’ve put in a lot of hours.
“... A lot of people have come by to say how it smells better than they’ve ever smelled it and that it’s cleaner than they’ve ever seen.”
Pryor’s Raymond Simpson, a 22-year-old who began working at the theater at age 16, has been leading a fundraising effort to buy the theater.
He organized an investment group whose immediate goal is raising $100,000 toward a downpayment on the facility. Through agencies such as the Cherokee Nation Small Business Assistance Center, Simpson, who is Cherokee, he also sought to generate about $250,000 for repairs and roughly $110,000 to convert the remaining two of the Allred’s five theaters to digital technology.
Angie Jones said Simpson offered to work at the theater after February, when he expects it to go up for sale. He couldn’t be reached immediately for comment today.
In this 2001 file photo, the Allred movie theater in Pryor. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World File