BY LOGAN MCCOURTNEY –
Movies are a favorite past time for many families, a time to laugh and eat great snacks together. Many couples have experienced their first date watching a movie together after dinner. The laughter and cackling of small children watching their favorite movie is priceless. All these memories and many more are what makes watching movies so great.
A few years ago, the Silver Screens sat empty, but somewhere in Mena a vision was developing. Deanna and Buddy Ayres, along with business partner Greg Davis, purchased the land and building and began to remodel the theater. Deanna and Buddy grew up and lived in Mena and have continued to work and raise their family in the area. After working in aviation since she was 18, Deanna was looking to make a change and the theater was what she was envisioning. “I was looking to make a change and I love movies. I thought what better job could I want,” explains Deanna. The theater was sitting empty and was in need of a lot of work, but she saw it for what it could be again. “It was the plan I had in mind when I thought about making a change. Buddy thought I was crazy and still probably does,” says Deanna laughing.
Deanna has always been a movie buff, she loves everything about movies. “My favorite movie is still The Notebook, but I just love watching movies. It’s something you can do together with friends or family,” Deanna says. It seems natural that she would be a good fit to manage and oversee the theater. For anyone that comes to see a movie, they will notice some considerable differences about the building. One of the more fun and impressive changes are the ‘uniforms’ of the workers. “We wanted to go with a 50’s theme, so all the girls and guys wear white button up shirts and black pants just like they would have then. Even our movie posters that decorate the walls are from that era,” explains Deanna. The 50’s theme can be seen throughout the theater, from the ticket booth in the front, to the checkered tiles in the lobby, it has all been done to give a face lift to the theater.
Many changes have been made, not only to make the building better, but to also make the movie experience better for everyone involved. One of the things that can first be noticed when you walk in is the concession area. Television screens have the menus scrolling through for easy readability and then more televisions play movie trailers while you wait. No matter who is coming to the movies with you, there will be snacks for every taste. “We have candy for the kids, but we also have White Castle burgers, pizza, chicken, and much more!” Deanna and Buddy also wanted to make sure that their food prices were reasonable. “We traveled to other theaters to see what they were doing and compared prices. We wanted to give people the best food for their money.” So much of the changes made to the theater were with movie watchers’ comforts and preferences.
Deanna wanted to make Silver Screens a premier movie theater for people in Polk County to be proud of and so many new things have been added. One of those things that she is most excited about is the second floor of the theater. In the past, the second floor was storage, but now it has been turned into a space that any movie watcher would love to be a part of. “We wanted to create a place where people could come and take their movie watching experience to a whole new level. A VIP room has been created for people to come and watch the movie while they kick back in recliners and couches,” says Deanna. The VIP room is for members only, a small cost for the wonderful experience. “A year-long membership is only $50. Not only do you get to watch the movie on the couches, but you can have one of our waitresses bring your snacks and food to you. You can’t beat that,” says Deanna excitedly. There is also a bistro room upstairs equipped with televisions that could be used for birthday parties or even meetings as well. The second level is an experience that is well worth looking into for any avid movie fan!
Silver Screens in Mena is a movie watching experience that will be great for the whole family. “We did everything we could to make this great. We are daily cleaning the theater, keeping it clean for everyone coming in. More compliments have been given about our staff and that makes me happy.” The theater will for sure exceed expectations and make movie viewers want to return. “I am so grateful to manage the staff we have and to run this theater. It has been so great, we have received thank-you notes for opening the theater again. That makes it all worth it.”
When Deanna and Buddy decided to open the theater, they did more than open doors to a building, they opened doors for families, friends, and couples to enjoy the entertainment and fun of a good movie. “Mena needs this, we need a good theater where family and friends can come.” For more information about service provided, movies playing, or show times, check out Silver Screens at www.menatheater.com or on their Facebook page, Silver Screens Theater.