WICHITA — Brian Mitchell regularly drives between his family’s New Mexico theaters in Taos and Los Lunas, so he couldn’t help but notice the Dreamcatcher 10 theater in Espanola, N.M.
“Actually, there’s a stoplight right there,” he says. “I had to sit there and look at it.”
He and his family, who own Mitchell Theatres, considered buying it but thought someone else beat them to it. Then, they discovered that deal fell through.
“That’s when we jumped in on it.”
The family now owns the 10-screen theater, which makes its 12th theater property. This makes the fourth theater it has purchased from Storyteller Theatres.
“When you drive by something every time, it was like, OK … we’ve got to see about buying this thing,” Mitchell says. “That’s the farmer in us, I guess. You pass a piece of ground … .”
The family, including Mitchell’s siblings Brent, a lawyer at Martin Pringle, and Kendra Ramsey, who lives in Texas, is a farming family that bought its first theater in Newton almost seven years ago and has been steadily acquiring new theaters ever since. The family also owns the Chisholm Trail Center-Outlet & Retail Shops in Newton.
Further theater expansion is likely for the family, which has theaters in Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mitchell says he and his siblings recently considered an Arizona theater but decided against it.
“That’s a little too far at the moment.”
He says the family is open to going that far, though.
“If that deal would have been right, we would have bought it.”