We had the good fortune of connecting with Phillip Virden and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Phillip, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
In 1973, I was part of a small group that saw a need for a place for families and young people to enjoy positive entertainment in our town. We thought a cinema would be a terrific idea to pursue. Once we identified the need and the specific idea, the opportunity to purchase a movie theatre in another town came about. Within a short time, we acquired the movie business (projection and concession equipment, seats, etc), bought land, and built our cinema building in 1975.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
It’s hard to explain but we have been able to create a certain “magic” with our movie theatre. New customers comment how special a cinema experience is with our Mountaineer Theatre. Our loyal long-term customers continue to enjoy patronizing us; even when the movie selection may not be so great. So what is the “Mountaineer Magic”?!

We think it boils down to our consistently good customer service, our hiring of our school’s high school students, our serving a simple but always good concession selection (we have darned good hot popcorn!), our showing of both the best current movies as well as classic films, and even some creative independent films, our clean theatre, our having special showings for our school, families, and other groups, our owner welcoming the customers at the beginning of each movie, and somehow creating an atmosphere where folks come not only to see a good movie but also to see others and socialize with them.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Hello! Welcome to our town this season. Based on listening to your interests, I’d like to recommend the following to you:

* Have a good breakfast bakery goodie and beverage to start your day.
* Have one of our good restaurants prepare a picnic lunch for you.
* Take one of our many scenic drives to enjoy our beautiful mountains, our gorgeous natural lake, our abundant wildlife.
* Tour our historic town…Visit our wonderful historic museum, check out a book at our local library, enjoy one of our parks, visit our many fun shops.
* Buy a delicious treat at our historic ice cream shop.
* Enjoy a yummy hometown beer at our local brewery.
* Enjoy dinner at an area restaurant.
* If you are staying at a place that provides a barbeque grill, get some good “grillin food ideas” from our local grocery store.
* Consider one of many activities to enjoy during your visit…fishing for trout, taking a hike, climbing a mountain peak, jeeping over one of our mountain passes, exploring a ghost town, and so many other memorable outdoor experiences.
* Take in a movie or play bingo or art or music programs.
* Enjoy one of the area’s evening stargazing programs.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Bill and Ruthanna Hall & John and Ann Parker were incredible in helping us get our cinema business going. Their financial expertise along with their vast global experience was invaluable through the entire process.

The previous owners of the movie theatre were fantastic to give us advice on the design of the building.

Chick Lloyd was our agent who was our terrific connection to the world of Hollywood and the ways of the different film distributors.

There were so many others in the movie industry who lent their expertise to us.

And, countless others in our community have come forward to support us with their love and encouragement.


Website: www.mountaineertheatre.com

Facebook: Mountaineer Theatre

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.