Hastings 4 theater owner files for bankruptcy
The Hastings 4 cinema is one of several theaters affected by Tuesday’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by Goodrich Quality Theaters.
The future of Barry County's only movie theater is up in the air; its owner has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Goodrich Quality Theaters, which owns the Hastings 4 theater at 213 W. State St., issued the filing Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Grand Rapids. Goodrich has owned the theater since 1998, when it acquired the former Strand Theater.
A show cause hearing in the case has been set for Wednesday, March 4, before Chief Bankruptcy Judge Scott Dales, said Kelly Hagan, one of the trustees assigned to the case.
Based in Grand Rapids, Goodrich owns 30 theaters in five states.
In its filing, Goodrich cited estimated assets at between $50 million and $100 million, and liabilities at between $10 million and $50 million. The number of creditors the company owes money to is listed at between 50 and 99, court records show.
The largest creditor listed in the filing is Vistar Corporation, a food service company based in the Detroit suburb of Belleville. Vistar has a claim of $1,086,417 against Goodrich.
Other unsecured claims listed in the filing include:
Universal Film Exchange, Dallas, $303,523
Spirit Master Funding X, Dallas, $460,934 (mortgages on four of Goodrich's theaters)
Sony Releasing, $224,570
Christie Digital Systems, Los Angeles, $203,013
Warner Brothers, Atlanta, $121,048
PepsiCo, Chicago, $103,000
IMAX Corporation, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, $87,244
Walt Disney Studios, Burbank, Calif., $81,063
Goodrich had come under fire in December 2019 over a policy change where it said it would no longer employ workers under the age of 18. An advertisement on the chain's website indicated it was looking for part-time help, but applicants had to be at least 18.
At least two employees at the Hastings 4 who were under 18 lost their jobs as a result of the policy change. One of them, Rose Lambert, submitted an online petition on the website change.org, alleging Goodrich's actions were “unfair and disrespectful to the teens currently working in the business.”
“I definitely think he got what was coming,” Lambert wrote in an email message to the Banner. “Most of his customers and employees were teenagers or started as teenagers.”
More than 10,000 people signed the online petition, according to the website.
Goodrich did not respond to requests for comments on the policy change, but a state youth employment specialist, Tara Bride, told the Banner at the time that a possible reason for the move may have been connected with the chain's addition of alcohol at some of its theaters. A 1978 Michigan law says a minor cannot be issued a work permit in an establishment where alcohol is sold for consumption on the premises. The Hastings 4 was not one of the locations where alcohol was being added.
The Hastings 4 began as the Brach Theater in October 1916. It was built at a cost of $40,000, and at the time, had 700 seats and featured an enameled white terra cotta front, tiled floors, and marble walls in the lobby. A crowd of 1,400 people showed up at the Brach for its opening. The first picture shown there was a silent film titled “The Light at Dusk.”
The Brach changed its name in the 1920s to the Strand Theater. Fred Teller purchased the theater in 1951 but kept the Strand name. The Strand closed in 1984.
A meeting of creditors, also known as a 341 meeting in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, is scheduled for Tuesday, March 24, Hagan said.
The Hastings 4 will continue to show movies for the time being. Current shows include “Call of the Wild,” “Doolittle” and “Sonic the Hedgehog.”
The Banner attempted to contact Tyrone Byrum, a Grand Rapids attorney who is representing Goodrich in the bankruptcy case, but did not receive a call back.