Two daring entrepreneurs have taken over the closed cinema complex in North Adams. Life partners George Gohl and Bill Gobeille have not only brought the eight screens back to life, but promise programming that is both more adventurous and diverse.
They have renamed the complex the North Adams Garden Movie Plex Eight. The theatre opened at midnight last night with New Moon, the hottest movie of the fall. Their new website contains their full schedule which begins today, and there is a newsletter you can sign up for to stay posted.
The pair also operates Greenfield's Garden Cinemas in an 80 year old vaudeville house they purchased in 2001. It draws just under 100,000 people a year to its screenings. These guys know how to operate a movie complex. Best of all, they have open minds regarding programming. While aggressive in courting the latest Hollywood blockbusters, they are also aware of the diversity of the Northern Berkshires, with its artists, internet mavens and small but growing LGBT community joining long time residents.
According to iBerkshires, Gobeille said the North Adams cinemas may also add independent and art films to cater to the colleges and growing arts community. Like the Greenfield theater, which holds monthly fundraisers for local youth groups, they would like it to become "a real presence in the community."
We are delighted at the news, and know that we will be finally visiting the movie complex again. They have hired back much of the old staff, and no doubt will be tending to the annoying problems of noisy doors slamming, boring snacks, and that vast empty hallway leading into the complex itself. If nothing else, perhaps they will put up some poster vitrines and artwork to bring it to life.
It is amazing that within hours of taking over the location, films were booked, staff rehired and a website created to serve our community. It goes to show what excellence is all about, and we have no doubt that the Northern Berkshires will soon be abuzz about the changes. Let's hope the new owners keep the standards high and the prices low. If so, they should be rewarded with the volume of customers that will make the new Garden Movie Plex a success.