Gain A Bookstore, Lose A Theater!

Posted on October 11, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Residents of Fairfield, Connecticut have been on an emotional roller coaster ride lately! Shortly after a “white knight” organization agreed to save their downtown book store, they learned of the cessation of public film screenings at their nonprofit movie theater nearby.

Blog readers may recall our previous coverage of the book store’s closing. We are pleased to report that Fairfield University, one of two institutions of higher learning in the town (the other being Sacred Heart University), has agreed to move its own collegiate book store into the downtown space.

However, the 1920s era movie house just down the street from the book store has now ended its public film schedule. Apparently, the Internal Revenue Service revoked the tax exemption status of the organization that managed the theater after the entity failed to file income tax returns for several years.

As we noted in our previous blog posting, the theatre had been saved a decade ago by numerous residents, neighbors, and local government officials (including the actor Paul Newman, who lived in Westport, a short drive from Fairfield) who cared about the economic and social impact of the movie house on the town.

It is appropriate to note that the director of the organization attributes his decision to cease public film screenings to a general need for financial support, and not to the IRS tax exemption decision per se. Nevertheless, when viewed together, the book store and movie theater sagas do illustrate the benefits of securing the financial support of “white knights” … and the risks of implementing community business development strategies without them.

Contributed by Michael Kraten, PhD, CPA, Accounting Professor at Providence College and President of Enterprise Mgt. Corp.


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