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Single-screen Vermillion theater closed after showing films for more than 4 decades in town


VERMILLION, South Dakota — The Vermillion Theater, an old-fashioned single-screen movie theater, has closed after serving folks in its small college town for more than four decades.

The theater, which opened in 1971, played its final film on August 17, according the Yankton Press and Dakotan ( ).

Business hadn't been great at the theater, but it was surviving, said Terry Johnson, who had managed the cinema since 1985. But Johnson said owner Jack Marsh decided to move the theater's lone digital projector across the street to his other Vermillion theater, the Coyote Twin.

"I feel sad and I wish we could keep going, but business nationwide is down 15 to 20 percent, and we are right in line with the rest of them," Johnson said. "We are holding our end up, and business is not bad — it's just that it's not great."

Johnson said the loss of small-time theaters is unfortunate and all too common.

Craig Cummings, who grew up in Vermillion, was the last patron to buy a ticket at the theater on Sunday while he was visiting town. Cummings said he hopes someone else can buy the building and revive the theater.

"It bothers me, and it's a bummer I guess," customer Regan Bye said of the closing. "It was a single theater, and there are not many left of those. It gives you that small-town feeling."

Information from: Yankton Press and Dakotan,

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