‘It felt like no time had passed’: Garland Theatre welcomes back moviegoers

SPOKANE, Wash. — There’s now another place to hang out now; The Garland Theatre just reopened, and it’s something many people have been waiting for.

The theater closed 16 months ago when COVID restrictions first hit in March 2020. No one’s been able to sit in those red seats at the Garland Theatre since then until Friday.

Popcorn was popping, drinks were being made, the movie theater experience was back in full swing on Saturday, the first full day its had in more than a year.

“There’s something different about watching it at home versus watching it in a theater. Where everybody else reacts with you, everybody gasps with you, they laugh with you. That’s the unique theater experience,” said general manager Jasmine Barnes.

Many people 4 News Now talked with were excited to be back at the Garland Theatre; it’s a memorable place for many people in Spokane.

“I used to walk here as a teenager and go to the movies,” said moviegoer Christine Cordova.

“I came so much as a kid and I’m really looking forward to having that experience for her. And building all those memories,” said moviegoer Danielle Geisler, who can start doing that with her daughter now that the theater is open again.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: The Garland Theater makes plan to reopen this summer

The theater waited so long to open because it wanted to make sure it was stable enough to do so. They didn’t want to open and close and go through the cycle many other businesses did.

“It felt like a thousand pounds off my shoulders once that first movie was playing. All the drinks were served in Bon Bon, it just felt like what it was like before,” Barnes said.

Luckily, the Garland Theatre was able to hire people during a time where other businesses are struggling with that.

“I think working at a theater is something people that could be really fun, and it is really fun and we’re just a small local business,” said Barnes. “But mostly, I think people want to work here because everybody in Spokane, everybody has their memory of their first time at the Garland or my favorite Garland memory.”

Those memories – that nostalgia – that’s what’s bringing people back to big screen on Garland after so many years.

“We love the Garland, we were worried they might not survive all this, being locally owned and everything. We’re just so happy they pulled through,” Geisler said.

RELATED: Garland Theater to open during Phase 4, staff is deep cleaning in preparation