Theater introduces new seats

ABOVE: A look at the new recliner and lounger seats in theater one at Fairmont 5 Theatres. The front row is filled with chaise lounge chairs and the rest of the seats recline. By mid-August all five theaters are expected to house the new seats.

FAIRMONT– After much anticipation, Fairmont 5 Theatres has begun to replace all of the seats throughout its five theaters with new recliner and lounger seating. The process began in late June and is expected to finish up in mid-August.

The project is one that owners Rob Mayer and Tom Struthers have had planned since they took over the theater in May 2022.

“A design process took place and then we put it out to bid… it’s not a good time to do construction and the financing process takes awhile,” Mayer explained.

The theater is three decades old and prior to the new owners taking over, it had sat vacant for about two years over the Covid-19 period.

“The whole building is original. No one has done any work since 1994 so we’re going in and completely revamping everything,” Mayer said.

After the seats and other materials were ordered, there was a waiting period before they were delivered. Mayer said he would like to have had everything installed by June and the busy start to the movie season, but he’s happy to get the project started nonetheless.

Fortunately, the theater hasn’t closed during the process, rather they’ve been closing one or two theaters at a time to replace the seats while keeping the other theaters open.

Theater one was one of the first to get a revamp. The new heated leather recliners each have their own swivel tray and they’re bigger than the previous seats, which means there are less. Theater one for example previously had 240 seats and now it has 76 seats plus two wheelchair spaces.

However, Mayer isn’t concerned with the reduction because he said if there’s a big movie coming out they can opt to show it on two screens and can still fit a large amount of people. Plus, people can reserve tickets online and there’s even a new seat map which allows them to select which seats they’d like.

“It’s an advantage because once you select and reserve a specific seat, you don’t have to go in and rush to sit down in the theater. You know your seat is there so you can go to the concessions and move at your own pace. It takes some of the stress out of going to the movies,” Mayer said.

New seats aren’t the only new aspect to the theater, either. Mayer has also been replacing the screens and the frames for the screens. New wall coverings, vinyl flooring, speakers and lights are also being installed.

“Basically everything that’s visible to the audience is new,” Mayer said.

As for what’s next, they plan to undergo a lobby remodel, which has also been high on the list since taking over the theater. However, Mayer said that since they do have to close down the theater for a few weeks for that project, there isn’t a good time to do it yet this year due to the movie release schedule. The project will be done in the near future, though.

Since some of the theaters are now open with the new seats and movie-goers have had the opportunity to use them, Mayer said the response has been good.

“People love it,” he said. “Ultimately it’s about comfort. We want to provide a good experience for people so that they’ll continue to come back.”


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today