One year: It’s been a long time. And, it’s NOT been a long time.
Those mixes of time duration perception run through Rob Treynor’s mind as the State Theater, which he and his family reopened in August 2015, approaches its one-year anniversary.
“It (0ne year) feels longer in some ways, shorter in others,” Treynor said Wednesday.
Built in 1936, the historic theater had set empty for years until the Treynor family decided to move forward with the venture.
Former owner George Peyton had attempted to jumpstart the business by refurbishing the rundown movie house with a major facelift in 2010. In the remodel, Peyton installed a new and improved concession area and opened up the lobby. But Peyton fell short of funds when it was realized a $40,000 digital projector and a roof was needed.
That’s where the Treynors turned to the public. A crowd-funding endeavor was launched and the “Save the State” fund reached its goal of $40,000 on June 6, 2015.
Hitting the one-year mark is cause for celebration. In recognition of the milestone The Treynors will offer a free movie, “Duck Soup” with the Marx Brothers, at noon at the theater, 127 S. Main St. with the gold marquee.
“We’ll give away prizes,” Treynor continued. “To say thanks for a fantastic first year in business.”
Fantastic because people have learned about the cinematic gem in downtown London, he says. The movie that was recently shown at the State, “The Secret Life of Pets,” had 2,000 viewers.
It didn’t start that way. Treynor said starting a cinema as summer waned would not rank high on the charts of businesses started at the best of times.
With kids returning to school and the onset of Ohio State football — not to mention high school Friday night football games — Treynor called it a tough time for theater-going.
But with their unique mix of first-run films, highlighting local film talent, a second film festival and a couple of comedy nights, the State is trotting into its second year.
Treynor said the long work weeks, as many as 90-100 hours by his count, are tiring.
“But it’s fun,” he assures. “But not without its bumps.”
He said he and his staff are learning how to turn food orders around quicker as the volume of theater-goers buying the unique culinary selections is growing. He boasts two panini machines now.
He got his first lesson on the evening of his first live comedy evening. “Slammed” is the word he uses to describe it.
“But people are understanding,” he said. Both comedy shows he described as “fantastic.”
Treynor has also accommodated local film artists including Zack Starr and Aaron Garrett with showings of their work. Another one is in the works with Mitch Spahn. (Coming soon to a theater near you!)
To show appreciation for patronage, Treynor gives you the Marx Brothers’ “Duck Soup,” which features an iconic mirror scene.
He calls their comedy timeless.
“Most of it still works,” he said.
Dean Shipley can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, on Facebook at Dean Shipley or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.