Uptown Theatre’s online campaign fails to make goal; owner ‘back to the drawing board’
By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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“We didn’t make it,” said Rick Wiley, who owns and operates both the Uptown at 1120 Lawrence St. and Wheel-In Motor Movie, a drive-in theater outside Port Townsend.
“We’ll have to go back to the drawing board and get something done,” he said.
“It could be another Kickstarter, some other crowd funding or some other kind of program.
“But if we don’t figure something out, we’ll close.”
Due to the nature of the online Kickstarter Inc., people pledge money on credit cards.
If the goal isn’t met, the money isn’t collected.
Wiley closed temporarily in September for the installation of a digital projector, which was necessary for the theater to continue to show new movies.
He reopened this month, hoping to close in November for renovations.
Even with the funding setback, Wiley said he plans to close the theater Nov. 7 and reopen in a renovated form around Thanksgiving.
He said he has access to the funds needed for the renovation but not for the projected operating costs.
The Kickstarter goal represented around one-quarter of his expected costs, and Wiley still needs to fund a digital conversion for the Wheel-In before it reopens next spring.
He said he never liked asking people for money but found it necessary to do so because of high costs and a competitive market.
“The idea behind a business is that you can pay your bills with what you do for a living and not wait for other people to give you money to keep you alive,” he said.
When it was clear that he would not make the goal, Wiley considered the possibility of using additional contributions that came outside of the Kickstarter campaign or even funds from his credit card but chose not to do so because Kickstarter Inc. takes 10 percent of all collected funds.
Wiley already has contacted the 120 people who contributed to the campaign through email Friday, saying: “We’re going to try this once more. Tell your friends about the oldest movie theatre in the state of Washington and our vision and plans for the future.”
Wiley said he will not directly approach backers with a request to pledge the same amounts again.
“I will let them know we are changing direction and offer them an opportunity to participate at any level,” he said.
For more information, visit www.ptuptowntheatre.com.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: October 26. 2013 6:22PM