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Eaton Theatre raising funds to fix broken projector

Posted at 10:45 PM, Apr 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-04 08:59:47-04

CHARLOTTE, Mich. — A small town theatre in Eaton County that's been around for nearly 90 years is facing a major setback.

Half of Eaton Theatre's business in Charlotte is down right now and they need to come up with thousands of dollars to get fully back on their feet.

She's known as the theatre lady. Leann Owen owns the nostalgic and charming theatre in downtown Charlotte.

The theatre opened on January 8th, 1931. The first movIe was Whoopie with Eddie Cantor.

Last Thursday, the theatre had an unexpected setback. One of two of its projectors broke down.

"We're supposed to start a new movie on Thursday, so we're gonna lose big money every day that we're not gonna be open. Not just in tickets, because a lot of money goes to the distributor, but concessions too," Owen said.

The repair is $9,000 and Owen only has 20 days to repay it. She's asking for the community to pitch in and help as the theatre maintains itself and she and her fiance, also a co-owner, don't make much profit.

"My fiance and I; it's because we love it. It wasn't because we had a lot of money to throw away and buy a small theatre."

There could be more issues with the projector after the broken part is repaired, but Owen is keeping her fingers crossed.

So far they've managed to raise $3,000.

"I've had a couple of people come in and they just hand us $100 and they're like, I wish I could give you more. I'm grateful for that," said Janessa Burdick, Manager of the Eaton Theatre.

Owen said they're pushing through with the repair regardless, but she knows her community is supportive.

"If I have to, we'll take out another loan on top of the loan's we already have," she said. "Anytime we had something major happen and we struggled, they stepped up. It's been just amazing."

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