Reeling in a new era
By Kate McCarthy
Brockport, N.Y. – The Strand Theater, like countless other local businesses, has had a rough time navigating the pandemic. For a business that requires in-person attendance, like the Strand, it has had an especially hard time staying afloat.
Brothers Jason and Jeff Yantz who own the Strand Theater, like thousands of other business owners, have struggled during these unprecedented times. In addition to the Strand, they also own three other small movie theaters in Geneseo, Canandaigua, and Auburn.
When nationwide mandatory shutdowns for theaters went into place in March 2020, the Strand was not prepared. With no news of reopening and only a little government assistance, the Yantz family started a GoFundMe page to last through the shutdown.
“The Strand has seen a lot of changes throughout the years, but nothing could have prepared it for a pandemic like COVID-19,” Jason Yantz wrote on the GoFundMe page for the Strand.
The Strand reopened in October 2020 before having to shut down again in January of 2021. Fast forward to May 2021 and the Strand has remained open since.
Lucy Mundschau has been assistant manager at the Strand since June 2021. She is part of the new team brought in for the theater since it reopened. The summer offered hope again.
“It’s been good. We definitely had a lot of business in the summer,” Mundschau said.
The wave of optimism was short-lived as news of the Omicron variant quickly spread in December 2021.
“We definitely noticed a decrease when omicron hit,” Mundschau said.
The Strand is slowly making its way back to fully recovering from the pandemic. Governor Kathy Hochul’s decision to lift the indoor mask mandate for businesses will hopefully encourage more business to the small theater.
“We have taken down our mandatory mask signs but our staff still wears masks,” Mundshau said.
The Strand is just one of several businesses struggling through the pandemic and wanting to offer their community a way to escape it, if only temporarily. As the second oldest theater in the country, the Strand certainly maintains that old-time charm. With only three screens, it’s a cozy environment for movie-goers.
“I think in general the way that streaming has taken over, there’s something exciting about going to the movies. It’s not really about the movie, sometimes it’s about the experience,” Mundschau said.