Story last updated at 3:46 p.m. Thursday, November 7, 2002

California couple buys theater, plans changes
by Carey James
Homer News

photo: news

  Photo by Carey James, Homer News
Jamie Sutton sits on one of the soon-to-be-removed seats in the Homer Family Theatre. He and his wife recently purchased the theater and plan to make improvements to the space and add new programs.  
Monday moviegoers became privy to a surprising closing act when one of the Homer Family Theatre's new owners made a guest appearance.

Jamie Sutton, who along with wife Lynnette Stockfleth closed on the theater purchase last week, introduced himself to the crowd and told them that by Friday, new seats would be installed throughout the theater.

By the next day, Sutton's promised seats had arrived on a large, rust-colored truck. Several workers were already busy making repairs, removing some seats, and constructing new structures in the theater.

While the new seats will certainly be an improvement, Sutton said he and his wife have other plans for the theater as well, including bringing in film festivals and opening up the space for arts and entertainment events.

"The plan is two-fold," Sutton said. "We want to improve the experience of going to the theater in Homer, and second is to make the theater a cultural and community resource."

Sutton also has plans to improve the area surrounding the theater, including the creek that runs behind the property.

The couple, who currently live in San Francisco, plan to move to Homer with their two teen-age daughters next summer, Jamie Sutton said.

Stockfleth bought property in Homer 18 years ago, and the couple has spent many summers in the area. Stockfleth's mother, Gege, moved here 12 years ago. According to Sutton, Stockfleth -- an interior designer -- had thought of purchasing the theater for some time.

"She always said, 'wouldn't it be cool to own the theater,'" he said.

When they found out the theater was for sale, they started making inquiries, and entered into negotiations with the sellers, Bob and JoAnn Sedlock, two months ago. The Sedlocks owned the theater for almost 20 years, Sutton said.

Sutton, a criminal defense lawyer, said the couple is excited about their upcoming move, and the operation of the theater. While new programs will likely be added, he said movie fans can expect plenty of great movies. Diane Sadler will continue managing the theater, he said.

"We're going to have the best movies and best popcorn in Alaska," he said. "That's our motto."

Sutton said anyone interested in the old theater seats can come to the theater between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. today and pick some up free.

Carey James can be reached at cjames@homernews.com.

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