Comments from worshipgeek

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worshipgeek commented about Restore the theater, restore the community on Feb 27, 2007 at 3:48 pm

The project is still under way. As of February 27, 2007, we are about a week from securing financing.

worshipgeek commented about Grand Theatre on Dec 28, 2006 at 12:14 pm

The Grand Theater was opened in the early 1930’s as Vaudeville theater. Many of the residents of Philippi remember Tex Ritter riding his horse onto the stage there.

She seats approximately 300 people. Apart from the theater auditorium itself, the building has 2 retail spaces, 3 apartments and a full basement.

The theater was converted a movie house some time after World War II. We all know the story: the owners at the time did all they could, but ran her into the ground. None of the subsequent owners were ever able to restore her. Most only put for the minimum effort to keep her open.

She was eventually sold at auction to the current owners. They did more with her than her previous owners, and ran a movie house there (late-release first-run movies), as well as running a ‘50’s style malt shop there called “The Hop”.

The theater and the restaurant closed at the end of 1999.

A delightfully attractive (albeit trendy and “metro”) coffee and tea shop called “Wickedly Delicious” opened in the space where “The Hop” was, in late October, 2005, and was closed by February, 2006. “Trendy” and “metro” are not meant to be slams, by the way. But, they are terms that hardly fit that part of the country.

The property has been for sale for quite a while, and is currently under contract — to me, as it turns out. The space formerly known as “The Hop” and then “Wickedly Delicious” is currently empty, and, if I have my way, will reopen as a somewhat more pedestrian cafe called “Wiener Joe’s” in the first quarter of 2007.

The theater herself will reopen later in 2007, after the first phase of her extensive renovation is completed. She will show movies three days a week, and will otherwise be made available as a center for the arts. More of that will be possible as the renovation proceeds.

All of this, naturally, is contigent upon financing.

worshipgeek commented about Restore the theater, restore the community on Dec 28, 2006 at 11:39 am


In spite of their best efforts, Wickedly Delicious closed just a few short months after it opened. I suspect the guys didn’t follow the cardinal rule of theater (which applies just as much to business): “know thy audience”. :–) The place was really nice. Perhaps just a little to “metro” for the people of Philippi. Too bad. I kinda liked them, and really hoped for the best.

We’re planning to open a cafe there, once we’ve actually managed to buy the place, unless the owners lease it out from under us before we can close. With the help of some of the people in the area whom we’ve met, I think we have a shot at keeping it going.

How do you know about the Grand? Are you from Philippi? Did you go to Alderson-Broaddus? I don’t want to get too far off topic in this forum. E-mail me directly if you have some history to share. Thanks!