Moxie Theater: Here’s Hoping

Geoff Pickle, Web Editor

The Moxie Theater, one of downtown Springfield’s most iconic businesses, has changed hands. While the reasons behind the move make sense, I can’t help but worry about its future.

Its previous owners, married couple Dan and Nicole Chilton have passed the theater along to a newly created nonprofit organization dubbed the Downtown Springfield Community Cinema, an entity under the administration umbrella of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.

On a Moxie blog post Aug. 3, Dan issued a lengthy statement explaining the reasoning behind the sale, which was made July 29.

Their main reasoning was that the couple needed to focus more time on their child Jasper, who was born late last year.

This reason is noble, and I can only applaud them for taking care of their family.

My hope is that the new owners can do as great of a job with the theater as the Chiltons.

I have lived in Springfield for four years now, and one of my earliest memories in this town was spent at The Moxie, when I went to see Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth.”

I was immediately taken by the nature of the theater: its old fashioned charm, small box offices and community atmosphere. It had the look and feel of a finely crafted binocular from yesteryear.

I’ve found through the years that when a person relocates, it is often the first occurrences at that new place that are most cemented into one’s memory. Perhaps for this reason or perhaps because of the location itself, I doubt I will forget The Moxie in my time on this earth.

In the blog, Dan Chilton wrote of his faith in the new owners in keeping The Moxie up to par with its fans’ expectations and needs.

“The newly formed board is built almost entirely of Moxie fans and supporters, and they know first-hand what’s worked for us over the years,” Chilton wrote. “There are no drastic, business-changing plans in store, so you can expect the same great Moxie experience you’ve come to know over the last five years.”

I spoke with the theater’s new director Mike Stevens on the phone this week, and he seemed sincere and eager to take the reins.

As the theater is now run by a nonprofit, they will accept donations, allowing for various membership plans.

Stevens wrote in a news release that those who simply want to buy a ticket and some popcorn will still be supporting the theater, but he hoped the new donation-based memberships would help garner a community feel and sustain the cinema for years to come.

I doubt I’m the only one hoping the new organization can continue the legacy and fill the large shoes left behind by the Chiltons. Here’s to many more years of Moxie success.


1 Response to “Moxie Theater: Here’s Hoping”

  1. 1 Bob Nelson August 5, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Geoff, I agree wholeheartedly. The Chiltons have brought a great product to Springfield – one that I enjoy visiting very often. Knowing the reputation of the folks over at the CFO, I feel pretty confident we’ll continue to be able to enjoy our popcorn and flavored toppings at its convenient location on Jefferson for years to come. It’s nice to have a getaway from the normal “big box” theatre from time to time. Nicole and Dan always brought in stellar flicks and I’m looking for more of the same into the future.

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