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Letter to the Editor: How you can help Silverton’s theater

I am the new owner of The Palace Theatre here in Silverton. I am enjoying my adventure in restoring this historic part of our community. It has not been easy, nor has it been inexpensive. Refurbishing the decor, repairing an aging building, upgrading the seating, replacing the sound system and investing in a top-of-the-line projector has not been cheap. But it’s good! Investing in this wonderful old theater is a labor of love.

Many people have asked me how they can help support this venture. This letter is my attempt to answer. First, it is very important to have as many people as possible regularly patronize our little theater. It is also very important that everyone honor our request to not to bring candy, snacks, sodas, or even bottles of water into the theater. 

First, there are security issues, such as bringing alcohol into a public setting. This is a state law; we just need to follow it to keep ourselves out of trouble. Because of this, we have to check backpacks and oversized handbags at the door. If you cannot leave your backpacks and large bags at home or in the car, we have places to store them during the movie. We want everyone to be safe and to be respectful towards one another, and to be respectful of small businesses investing in this community.

Second, the movie industry is very rigid in protecting their creative and intellectual property and giving permission to exhibit it. The film companies place many requirements on theater owners including how long to show a movie and how much we must pay them per ticket. They can take upwards of 75% of each ticket sold as their licensing fee. That leaves independent theater operators like me with sometimes as little as 25 cents out of each dollar to cover the other operating costs of running a business. In order to ensure the long-term success of The Palace Theatre, it is necessary for our patrons to come prepared to buy their concessions from us, on-site. Our prices are competitive with all the big theaters in Salem. Without the support of this portion of our business, it would be cost-prohibitive to keep the doors open for very long.

It may be that under the previous management there was less oversight on the issue, but that also may have played a part in why they had to cease operating.

I write not to complain, but simply to be transparent. I request you to join me in making The Palace Theatre an ongoing success. 

Folks who operate any kind of business in a small town are usually not doing it “just for the money.” We do it out of love for community, to contribute to the vitality of Silverton, and for us, love of movies.

So, thank you for your support, and thank you for understanding my need to make this request. Please make time in your weekly routine to “Pack the Palace” for the benefit of everyone.

Thomas Baham
The Palace Theatre

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