Mall movies will close for now due to lack of new films

A lack of new films and a cash flow problem will temporarily shut down the Movies at Cranberry in the Cranberry Mall.

The five-screen theater, owned by a Chicago-based firm, will close for the time being Sept. 30.

The theater management posted on social media Wednesday that the “cost of being open is far greater than we can do with cash coming in.” The announcement also included “not sure if we’ll make it to reopen but asking for prayers for our hometown to keep our theater alive.”

Jeff Clark, property manager at the mall, said the theater had been showing previously released movies for a few days a week.

“I think they will wait it out if there are finally new releases out of Hollywood,” said Clark. “They just don’t have enough movies to fill those theaters so they will be idle for a while, just like theaters across the country.”

There have been some positive changes recently at the mall, said Clark.

A cooperative retail business that opened in late July in part of the former Sears store retail area is expanding. Local businessman Rich Awad opened the Venango Co-Op space to vendors and antique sellers and set sale hours over the weekends.

“It is doing great and it is growing,” said Clark. “It is now taking up about 50% of the Sears area at this point and seems to be very popular.”

There is another new tenant in a smaller section of the former Sears location. The Pawsitively Fun Dog Training opened for business last week.

Clark said Franklin resident Al Jenkins is preparing to open a Wool and Ewe Shop in one vacant storefront. A pottery shop called Jeanne’s Pottery also recently moved in to the mall.

The Dapa store, which sells handcrafted items, wood decor and sewing and floral items opened earlier this year. New to the mall, too, has been the Allegheny Barbeque store.

Bradley’s Book Outlet announced in August it would close. Clark said the store will probably remain open “until their inventory is done, probably around Christmas time.”

Meanwhile, Clark continues to field inquiries from potential store renters with the bulk of that interest coming from “mom and pop businesses.”

“We get questions about our smaller spaces and most of that interest is from local sources,” said the mall manager. “So, there is interest out there, especially from mom and pop business. They are small and local and that is very good.”

There are occasional calls, too, from larger retail concerns.

“I had one call from a broker interested on behalf of a retail client about the former Bon Ton space,” said Clark. “That’s the only big one recently but, it’s still out there.”