The landlord of the Parkway Theater at 18th Street and Park Blvd in Oakland evicted the Parkway Theater after severely raising the rent. It's last day was today, March 22nd, 2009, but the theater can be saved.
As an employee reports in this video, the closure was fast; the employees got the notice just four days ago, giving them little time to make adjustments and throwing lives into chaos. Apparently, the theater just had not drawn a lot of people -- or at least enough to pay the rent -- to maintain itself. In the words of the persons I talked to -- some on the video -- the movie house was not showing what the public wanted to see.
I think a larger issue was marketing, or the lack of it. A new approach should include having ways that bloggers can put a Parkway widget on their blogs. Also having the Parkway on as many social networks -- like Twitter -- as possible would really keep its name out there.
The bottom line is the place Kyle and Catherine Fisher raised $140,000 to start in 1996 and opened the following year can be saved. But the landlord has to really have a different strategy and be more a part of the business than it appears they are not. A closed Parkway is a blight on that neighborhood at a time when people need reasons to feel good about what's happening in their lives.
As Michael Cabon over at "An Oakland Citizen" points out, the Parkway has been an interesting place. (You have to read his post.)
It's watch time. Which business institution will fall next? Which landlord will prove not to realize that there's not a lot of money out there and thus can't increase rents?
Will the Parkway employees find other means of work? Will the City of Oakland, which just purchased a $7 million building with redevelopment funds step in?
The Parkway was a friend to then-Oakland Councilmember John Russo, who's now City Attorney. They even named a sandwich after him for his support of the facility. (It's not on the menu anymore.) Will Russo step in?
So many questions, which only mean that this whole issue is far from...closed.