New Ownership For Centre Theatre, Sidney

Centre Theatre has changed ownership, again. This time the owners are a little more local than before.

Joe Kessel owned the Centre theatre in Sidney for 12 1/2 years. Kessel purchased it in 2010 and hired Sharisse Slade to manage it while he and his wife ran their theaters and bowling alley in Glendive, where they live. Now, Kessel is reaching retirement age and was not able to put the time into the theater that the business needed. Kessel sold Centre theatre to Javier Morales, Fairview. He and his wife, Verónica, and their children moved to the area from a small town in Michoacán, Mexico in 2017 for a job in Williston. They moved to Fairview in 2019. Morales also owns Morales Construction. Kessel said, "I'm excited for the family. Hopefully, now the theater will see some big changes and continue to be supported like it always has been."

Centre Theater needs a lot of repairs, updates, and things that need to be replaced. Morales said, "The first time we came to the theater it felt like it needed renovations." The signage on the front of the building is old and damaged. The indoor concession signs are long overdue for an update, as well. According to the TikTok reel on Centre Theatre's Facebook page, the seats are outdated and a few are missing. On top of that, Morales bought the business on Wednesday, Jan. 25. That night, the popcorn machine broke down. Morales said, "Special thanks to Mr. Slade for coming out late last minute. I would have not gotten the popcorn machine going without him." The next Friday the turning mechanism broke and burned the last batch of the night. Both times Morales was able to fix it, but it is old and has already proven itself unreliable. The couple holds the indoor signage, seats, and popcorn machine as the highest priority but they want to do more. They want to update the store front and replace the tin but do not want to lose the character. Within a few months, they would also like to offer movies for the Latino community. The former location of Big Sky Bakery came with the Morales' purchase and if everything goes right they are even considering turning the space into an arcade. Morales said, "I want to turn the place around and bring life back into the movie theater."

The renovations will be costly. They are attempting to get as much of the renovations done without closing down the theater during normal business hours. Concession prices will be going up but they want to keep ticket prices low. A fundraising link for the renovations is on Centre Theatre's Facebook page. Morales said, "If someone wants to donate a popcorn machine or chairs, we will put a plaque up to commemorate the donation. Fairview and Sidney have been good to us. We want to return the favor."


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