If you've lived in Spokane for while, you probably have a memory of The Garland Theater.
I remember going to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. The theater was packed and for some reason there was a man with a microphone who said, "anyone here who knows the name of all four turtles will get a free ticket to another movie!"
My parents shoved me out of my seat and urged me to go run up to the front of the theater and name off all four turtles. So I did. It felt awkward being a 31-year-old man standing in line with a bunch of 8-year-olds to get a free movie ticket, but it's memories like that that make The Garland so special.
Ok, I'm kidding. I wasn't 31-years-old, but that did happen when I was a kid.
"One time I came and watched Die Hard here. and when he said that famous line, everybody cheered and that's something I feel like you can't find at corporate theaters," Garland General Manager Jasmine Barnes said as we reminisced about our own history with the theater.
However, since March 2020, there's been no "Yippie-Ky-Yay's", the seats have been empty and the popcorn machine has sat silent.
Until this week.
"I never had a doubt that we'd reopen," Barnes said with refreshing optimism. "It will always reopen. I don't think this community would let it close."
While reopening has been a slow process, it is one made possible thanks to the Shuttered Venue Grant, which helped cover costs like utilities, restocking and hiring back staff.
"It was necessary being closed 16 months with zero income," Barnes said of the grant. "Even being closed, we still had daily costs."
Some staff members came back but Barnes said once they put out the call for the open positions in the theater and the attached Bon Bon Bar, the vacant staffing positions were quickly filled.
"We got flooded with resumes," Barnes said. "We were able to hire a full bar staff and full theater staff in, like, two days."
As the excitement of Barnes and her staff grows inside the theater as they getting ready for the movies, outside the excitement from the public is also growing, something Barnes felt as the theater changed out the iconic marquee for the first time in a long time.
"People were driving by, honking their horns and cheering out of their car windows and it just reminded me how important this theater is to the community," Barnes said.
While a lot has changed in the world recently, The Garland Theater is sticking with was makes them Spokane's unique and beloved theater with $5 tickets to see movies both old and new on the big screen.
For a list of current showings and times, CLICK HERE.