History: Abbotsford Theatre (1949 - 2009)
Contact:: Robert Lipprandt
Surnames: Bender, Hodd, Leu,
----Source: The Tribune - Phonograph (Abbotsford,
Clark Co., WI), Wednesday, October 1, 2009, Page
Abby Theatre celebrated 60 years with free movie.
By Kevin O’Brien
60 uninterrupted years, the Abby Theatre has been providing
Abbotsford and surrounding communities with low-cost family
entertainment on a big screen.
thank-you to their loyal customer base, the owners are offering
free admission to Disney’s animated feature "Up" this
weekend. Showings are at 2:15 and 6:30 p.m. on Saturday and 2:15 on
"It’s a long time to survive, so I think
it’s time to do a free movie," said Allen Leu, who owns and
operates the theater along with Sherri Leu and Kristy
Robert and Cecil Hodd opened the Abby Theatre in
1949, and 47 years later, in 1996, the Leus purchased it and have
kept it going ever since.
said they’ve been able to stay open all these years by people
in and outside of Abbotsford who keep coming back for each new
"We’ve got loyal customers and that helps
in a small town," he said.
Abby Theatre doesn’t even try to compete
with larger theaters that play first run movies in Marshfield and
Instead, the owners focus on G and PG rated
movies that appeal to the entire family. And it helps that tickets
only cost $5, compared to $7 or more at other
"Where do you go for five bucks? Not very far
these days," Leu said.
woman from Minnesota once told Leu that Abbotsford is very luck to
still have a classic, low cost theater when so many others are
Indeed, the Abby Theatre is one attraction that
distinguishes Abbotsford from the other small communities in the
area. It offers another reason for people to come into the city and
stop at restaurants and other businesses while they’re here,
Born and raised in Colby, Leu started running
projectors while he was still in high school in the late
1960’s. He worked at both the Abby Theatre and a drive-in
just outside of town. Both has the same owners.
"The theater, even when the drive-in was here,
still did OK," he said, noting that theaters generally fare pretty
well during tough economic times.
Within a few years of taking over the theater,
Leu installed a new digital surround-sound system wit 10 speakers
and a new screen measuring 35 feet across and 10 feet tall. The
theater has a total of 220 seats.
isn’t the same as sitting at home," he said. "I get people in
here who tell me that all the time.
Another thing that adds to the cinematic
experience is the well-stocked concession stand and popcorn
machine, which brings a lot of people in the door.
keeps the kids happy," he said’ "That’s all that
we’re concerned about."
The Abby Theatre is located at 216 N. First St. in Abbotsford. For more information, call 223-3812 or go to www.abbytheater.com
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