UPDATE: Monday, July 8, 2013
The Barron Theatre has been open in Pratt since 1930. Soon, for the first time in 25 years, Tim Barker's family won't be running it.
"I was in fourth grade when my folks bought it,” Tim Barker said.
Barker says ticket sales are steady but the movie business has gone digital and the Barron is still using film. It would cost them a lot to make the switch and their profits would stay about the same.
Another factor, Barker is a full time attorney with a wife and four children. He says stepping back from the movie theater business will give him more time to focus on family.
"All great things come to an end and our run at the Barron Theatre, we feel like it's run it's course,” Barker said.
The news has spread quickly and people in Pratt are disappointed.
Pratt resident Julia Roberts' mother was an usherette in the 40's and her grandfather ran the projector for nearly 30 years.
"It is a sign of the times but it's still pretty sad. It's a staple here in town,” Julia Roberts said.
It's also the town's only movie theater.
"Really the only other option would be Wichita or Hutchinson. It's a hundred miles so hour and a half,” Pratt resident Steve Davis said.
Tim Barker doesn't want to say the Barron is closing for good, his family is just stepping down. He's open to offers from other groups who want to take the movie business on.
"We want it to succeed as much as anybody else,” Barker said.
Barker says they don't know when their last day will be but they do expect to finish up the summer movie season.