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3:28 AM Fri, Sept. 21st

Curtain falls on Frontier Village theater

Jason Soifer/The Daily Courier<br>
The movie theater at the Frontier Village Shopping Center has closed.

Jason Soifer/The Daily Courier<br> The movie theater at the Frontier Village Shopping Center has closed.

The Frontier Village Cinema 10 Theater is dark.

Scott Cassell, co-operator of the theater in the Frontier Village Shopping Center, confirmed that he closed it Thursday.

Cassell and his business partner, Max Anhoury, took over operations in 2007 and tried a number of changes that ultimately went nowhere.

"When we originally took that theater over, we had a lot of grandiose plans and ideas for renovations, but the recession hit shortly after that and it just became impossible to get any type of financing from lenders," he said.

A brief note hangs from inside the doors announcing the closure.

It's an ending Cassell said is "extremely disappointing," as he and Anhoury tried a number of different things to turn the tide.

Cassell cut ticket prices, expanded the menu, sold alcohol, brought in art films and took an active role in the community in an attempt to spark sales.

"We were hoping that we could do renovations slowly through just cash flow that we had generated," he said.

"But the problem was cash flow never was generated, the only time you could make a buck or two was in the summer time or in the holiday season.

"So it was just kind of a vicious circle to try and get it done."

Grace Investment Group, the landlord behind the center and building owner, did not return multiple phone calls before press time Monday night.

Subway sandwich store co-owner Brooke Weitkunat, was surprised at the closure. "I hadn't heard it, that's too bad," she said.

Lisa Shipp, manager of Pretty Party Place, wasn't surprised. She said the theater didn't keep up with the times.

"I've gone to a movie there, it just was not a positive experience," she said.

Add the theater closing to the growing list of vacancies at the center. Blockbuster Video, Bashas' and American Home are among the prominent businesses that left the center since November 2008.

Grace and the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe sent letters to existing tenants to calm their fears and shoot down rumors in May.

Tribal President Ernest Jones wrote that the tribe has no plans to take down buildings to build a massive gaming center and that they support Grace's efforts to retain and obtain tenants.

Grace Investment Group President Howard Grace's letter informed tenants that his staff is looking to fill the Bashas' space.

Cassell said he is trying to work with Grace to improve the movie experience.

"Prescott needs its own movie theater that locals can be proud of, a movie theater that meets industry standards for providing an exceptional sight and sound experience and a comfortable seat," he said.