Owner Speaks Out About Selling Old Denison Movie Theater - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Owner Speaks Out About Selling Old Denison Movie Theater


DENISON, TX -- Shows will continue at a 94-year-old theater that's now up for sale again. We talked to the current and previous owners about the building that's hosted movies and events for nearly a century now.

Colbert resident Greg Guymon says he's decided it's time to let the Rialto Theater go after three years of hard work.

"My brother and I, we're from Denison, and when we saw that the Rialto had been on the market for several years and just sitting there and with nothing being done with it, so we were able to get it for a good price," says Guymon.

Guymon says he and his brother Garrett spent nine months transforming their $15,000 purchase with about $100,000 in new lighting, screens, paint, carpet, and most important, gutting the ancient electrical system.

"We got everything up to code and got all the inspections done," says Guymon.

During the past two years, several 10-cent and free Movie Nights promoted on KTEN brought in hundreds of people.

"We always did really well with concessions and that was the key," says Guymon. "We figured out real fast you can't make a lot of money showing the movies, the music is really the key for downtown Denison."

"People would come to our shows just because they wanted to go and sit in the balcony and remember what it was like when they were a teenager," says former Rialto owner Shawndra Rains.

The building is currently listed for $224,950, but Guymon says he is hoping that price won't scare away potential buyers. He says he's put in a lot of work renovating the building, and won't sell it for just anything.

"I think that it would be a detriment to this community if that building was lost or it was lost to the wrong hands," says Rains.

Rains says she owned the Rialto for 12 years, organized volunteers to fix it up, and still puts on shows there with her vocal students.

"It was a labor of love for me. You have to work it day and night," says Rains. "The balcony was closed when we took the building over and we renovated that balcony. That brought it from 360 seats to 585 seats. You know, there's been a lot of blood sweat and tears put into that building."

Guymon says he's glad he's been able to keep the 1920 theater -- the only one of several competing Main Street movie theaters of yesteryear in Denison that still remains intact today -- from sitting idle like it had for three years before.

"That was the main thing was to keep the theater open and not let it deteriorate," says Guymon. "We're really just looking for someone who can step in and take it to the next level."