While businesses may come and go, there’s one island icon that is a model of longevity, celebrating 76 years in continuous operation in the same location.
Now known as the Historic Lynwood Theatre, the single-screen movie house in Lynwood Center has been flickering films across its screen since 1936, when it opened as Bainbridge Island’s first “talking movie” theatre.
Edna and Emanuel Olson built the Lynwood and operated it until the early 1950s, when they sold it to their nephew Glenn Nolta and his wife, Lucille.
The business finally passed out of the family in 1982 when it was purchased by Sam Granato. Co-owner Jeff Brein came onboard in 1997. Until the multiplex Bainbridge Cinemas came along in 1998, the Lynwood was the only game in town. So how did it handle the competition?
“It helped that we were the competition,” Brein said. Granato and Brein also own Bainbridge Cinemas, and they ensure that the theatres feature different film genres.
While Bainbridge Cinemas is the place for the latest blockbuster, the Lynwood is known as the island’s “art house,” showing smaller films that cater to the adult population. The theatre is also the site of the annual Celluloid Bainbridge Film Festival and is often the venue for various community events.
“We are deeply involved in the community,” Brein said. “We figure, if we support the community, the community supports us.”