After Bethel Cinema’s closure in 2020, there was an air of sadness throughout Bethel. The theater was a staple in town for showing independent and art house films with a few mainstream titles thrown into the mix. To the surprise of many in town, the cinema didn’t stay closed for long. Frank and Jaimie Lockwood came along and saved the day! They purchased the cinema, aiming to revive the beloved theater.
Frank and Jaimie moved to Bethel in 2018 from Brooklyn, New York. Frank is passionate about and successful at brewing beer. He and Jaimie had the opportunity to become business partners with Ryan and Mark Broderick, co-founders of Reverie Brewing in Newtown. Frank is the head brewer there and Jaimie is the Events Coordinator. They both have a strong entrepreneurial spirit which led them to where they are now. With their new business venture beginning, they wanted to move closer to Reverie. They began looking for a home and Bethel came up in their search.
“Bethel really stuck out to us for a bunch of reasons. We love that there’s a train so we can go visit friends in the city or they can visit us, there’s plenty of sidewalks which is great for our family so we can walk into town with our daughter, and there is a strong cultural vibe here – which included Bethel Cinema at the time. We loved that there was a small independent theater.”
During the pandemic, Frank heard about Bethel Cinema’s closing from his parents. The news was disappointing for Frank and Jaimie, like for the rest of us. Then, Frank’s dad jokingly proposed the idea to Frank that he should buy it and get it running again since he has the drive for taking on business endeavors. Frank’s immediate reaction was, “No way!” but he says that one day he got in touch with the previous owner, which led to talking to the landlord, and the rest is history – he and Jaimie were more invested in taking on this project. I think it’s safe to say we’re so glad they did!
“We never imagined ever owning a movie theater – neither of us has any experience with running a theater but it just kind of happened and we’ve learned so much already in our travels.”
Greenwood Features has been in a soft opening since the weekend of February 18th, 2022. The theater has four screens with Theater 1 being the largest at an occupancy capacity for 176 people. They are showing mainstream titles in addition to some indie and retrospective productions. During opening week of Major League Baseball, they played Field of Dreams and had Cracker Jack-themed popcorn available for guests. Currently, they are showing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Tankhouse, The Bad Guys, Vortex, and Petite Maman. For a full list of showtimes, visit their website.
They serve the usual movie theater concessions with a little bit of a twist to include Jaimie’s special popcorn recipe, candy, a selection of organic sodas, beer, and wine. All of their beverage and popcorn containers are compostable, and visitors will see that there are three receptacles at the theater for trash, recycling, and compost.
On Friday, May 27th at 5:00 PM, Greenwood Features will have its official Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting event. The event is open to the public and they will offer some specials for the evening. They will feature the 1995 Cult Classic, Mallrats, and are offering a Reverie Chocolate Covered Pretzel Stout called Mr. Svenning in honor of one of the characters in the film. They will also offer chocolate covered pretzel-themed popcorn. You can get a large popcorn and a beer for $9 and if you buy a 4-pack of the stout at Reverie Brewing before the movie, you will receive a $2 coupon off a large popcorn, beer, or large soda at the theater. Titles on grand opening weekend will include Top Gun Maverick, Downton Abbey: A New Era, Happening, and the first theatrical debut of the documentary, Up on the Mountain. Come on out to support a great small business and have a fun evening with your family and friends!
Frank says, “It’s kind of serendipitous that our Grand Opening is on Memorial Day weekend because we moved to Bethel during Memorial Day weekend – everything just fell into place.”
Greenwood Features has some plans in the works to expand the theater even more. They have a party room that is available for rentals. You can have your child’s birthday party at the theater and bring a DVD of your choice to play on their digital projectors. The space isn’t limited to kids’ parties – it is available for adults to rent out for work events, family events, and more. Additionally, Greenwood Features has taken over the space where the dry cleaner was next door. There is room for a 50 person-occupancy space, and they have a plan to add a Barcade and lounge area. Stay tuned for all the up-and-coming offerings at Greenwood Features. Frank and/or Jaimie are always at the theater so stop by and check out the new and improved cinema!