One such business was the legendary Winchester Drive In Theatre, 6930 S. Western, made all the more poignant by it being one of the few operating drive-in movie theaters left in the country.
Instead of shutting its doors, however, longtime owner and operator Lindy Shanbour chose to rebuild.
I opened this drive-in up on July 3, 1968 thats 45 years. Its my life, he said. The people Ive seen grow up here, its a memory thatll never go away. Its what keeps me going. I could sit here all day and tell you about all the memories I have in this theater. No way in the world would I trade them for anything.
Its this passion for films and the joy they bring that Shanbour said are his main impetus for trying to re-open the Winchester before the end of the summer movie season, especially this season, which he said is filled with perfect drive-in fare.
We had the best run of movies weve ever had, he said. I was running Fast & Furious 6 and Iron Man 3 as a double feature, and it was doing a tremendous amount of business. ... And then the storm happened.
After the theater took a direct hit, he had to cancel two movies he already had booked: Man of Steel and The Lone Ranger.
And theyre big-time pictures that would have done a lot of business, Shanbour said. Theyre not small.
The storm ripped through the Winchester, tearing holes in the movie screen and destroying the roof, the air conditioning units and coolers, part of the concession stand and the surrounding fence, as well as blowing Shanbours office clean out.
But what really hurt the Winchester, he said, was the flooding of its projection booth, which damaged an $80,000 digital projector that was all of 2 weeks old.
I cant show movies without a projector, Shanbour said. Its from Germany, so [a new one] takes a while to get here. But when it gets installed, the rest of the repairs should only take about two weeks to a month.
As he waits, the only thing to do in the meantime is continue to promise patrons that the Winchesters waving cowboy marquee will light up once more it will take time and patience.
Fans of the theater have inundated Shanbour with phone calls and emails begging him to keep it open, even going as far to offer donations, but he said he doesnt want or need any of that. He built the place, said Shanbour, and wants to rebuild it himself.
are going to open this theater back up before the end of summer, he
said. But before I open it up, its got to be right. Im not going to
do it halfway. Im not going to open it just so I can get business. Its
going to be the way I want it, and I want it done right. I owe it to my