We had the good fortune of connecting with Carrie Wallace and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carrie, what do you attribute your success to?
The Majestic Theatre is the only commercial movie theater in a two hour radius of Crested Butte. We serve a community of 9,000 locals, 4,400 second home owners, and over 200,000 tourists a year. Since 1995, the Majestic has been a cornerstone of entertainment in the Gunnison Valley. Over those 26 years, memories have been made, traditions established, and a tight knit community surrounding the Majestic has been formed. The most important factor behind the success of the Majestic is this community – that gives it life and makes going to the movies a shared experience for people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy. Our community made the Majestic successful when it was operating and is also what supports us and drives us as we fight to reopen our town’s movie theater.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
We are former employees trying to get our old jobs back- how often does that happen? Our team has spent the last 5 months working on this project with every bit of spare time we have, with no pay, while also holding down multiple other jobs. We know that we are the people to reopen the Majestic, as no one else has the experience or knowledge. We could have easily walked away and started applying for other jobs when it closed, but we don’t have the passion for any other jobs that we have for the Majestic. As the only cinema in a 2 hour radius, we have nothing but support and love for our community on this project. We are doing this as grassroots as possible. We’ve raised over $35,000 from over 450 donors. We’ve built a team of advisors, consisting of small local business owners, entrepreneurs, non-profit directors, and other professionals who fiercely represent the values we believe are imperative to operating the Majestic Theatre. We plan to reopen the Majestic as a nonprofit movie theater, that will educate, entertain, and inspire the Gunnison Valley through new movies, local events, and community collaborations. As for me, I studied nonprofit management at GWU and served as Executive Director of a small nonprofit while living in DC. I then went on to Thailand with a Fulbright grant to teach English in a rural coal mining town. After a year in the sweltering Southeast Asian heat, I decided I wanted to live in a ski town for just one season. I had never been to Crested Butte before but liked that it was a small ski town, not owned by Vail at the time. Safe to say I fell in love with the town, the surrounding wilderness, and the community. Being an east coaster, I thought my resume was all I needed to get a job. I was confused when I was constantly being turned down from jobs, despite my professional experience and years of working in fancy restaurants on Cape Cod and in DC. It took me a bit to realize that in Crested Butte, it’s more about who you know and how long you’ve been here. So over the past 5 years, I’ve been putting in my time, working banquets, babysitting, working at the toy store, hosting for restaurants, and working maintenance for a property management company to name a few. When I got my job at the Majestic, I knew I wanted to stay a while. The lesson I’m learning now is that sometimes you have to fight to keep your favorite job. I’ve been a ski instructor for 5 winters.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
In the winter, backcountry skiing! In the summer, an epic hike followed by some camping. Either way, I’d get them to the top of a mountain to take a look around at the gorgeous wilderness surrounding us. We’d walk my dogs down to the river everyday and bike around town every chance we got. We’d eat at Sherpa Cafe for our big night out and hit up Montanya for some rum cocktails afterwards. Crested Butte isn’t easy to get to, so if I did have a best friend visit, I’d just be so excited to show them the life I’ve built here and try to give them a sense of our tight-knit community.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would never have been hired at the Majestic if it wasn’t for our former manager, and my best friend, Paden Kelley. He was my first friend when I moved to the Gunnison Valley and when he was hired as manager of the Majestic, he was dead set on sharing this amazing place with me. Working with him not only expanded my knowledge and love of movies, but also showed me the fun and quirky community that surrounded this little movie theater. Paden made everyone feel at home at the Majestic and many people kept coming to movies just to see him. Paden cultivated a spirit of inclusion and support amongst the Majestic staff, creating “The Children of the Popcorn”, aka our employees. Paden had big, big dreams for what the Majestic could be, a lot of which have been implemented into our business plan for when we reopen. Paden passed away 2 years ago from an accidental overdose after successfully beating stage 3 testicular cancer. I love the Majestic because Paden taught me to and I fight so hard to reopen because I know he wouldn’t want to see it go.
Just all photos taken by my friends!