ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – With movie theaters still closed, one organization is fighting to keep smaller theaters from closing for good. Albuquerque’s Flix Brewhouse employs more than 100 people. With the state’s public health order keeping theaters closed, they worry about shutting down and leaving workers high and dry.
“If Flix goes away in Albuquerque, we’re not talking about, oh, a handful of teenagers are going to work at McDonald’s,” said Greg Johnson, Director of Sales and Marketing for Flix Brewhouse. “We’ve got 150+ team members that are Albuquerque people. It’s not just teenagers. It’s cooks, it’s brewers, it’s bartenders, it’s managers.”
“Obviously, we need to band together to ask for the help, not only of our customers, our patrons but of our elected officials that can actually enact change,” said Johnson. “In the first week since the campaign launched, over 160,000 messages were delivered to congressmen and senators, congresspersons and senators. We know that they’re listening. I submitted it and got a message back from my representative.”
They hope lawmakers will hear them out. Using a basic online letter campaign, they’re trying to reach as many elected officials as they can and find a way to keep movie theaters afloat.
“There’s a pre-written letter that goes straight to your representatives as long as you make sure your zip code is in there,” said Johnson. “It makes us hopeful that we will get some relief and some help. We believe cinema is an important part of the fabric of what makes entertainment great.”
Movie fan Deena Duran says she considers Flix to be a small business. The chain of theaters only has a handful across the country and only one New Mexico location. She worries they will struggle if they don’t reopen soon.
“Movie theaters like Flix are more of a small business and I think they’re the ones that are really going to struggle if they have to remain closed,” said Duran. “I have contacted my representatives to voice my opinion on this because it means that much to me.”
Andrew Bundy says he hopes to return to Flix, even if it’s to watch older, family-friendly movies. Many new films have pushed back their release dates in recent months, sometimes as far back as six months to a year from their original dates.
“We were definitely concerned. It seems too odd to have that industry sort of left out of what’s being considered to be able to open,” said Bundy. “Making sure the governor knew this is something we’re interested in addressing.”
Johnson says the support of locals is keeping them going. While some Flix locations around the U.S. have been able to reopen, he remains hopeful that will soon be the case for Albuquerque’s theaters, as well. They hope to reopen in Albuquerque in the next month or so.
“Hearing all the voices of all of our guests has been really positive,” said Johnson. “Hopefully, that translates into action.”
In New Mexico, Sen. Martin Heinrich has responded, saying he hopes to get more stimulus funding to businesses like Flix. For those interested in reaching out to their local representatives and senators, the letter template is available on the Save Your Cinema website.