Little theater, big involvement
With fall in full swing, the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce has found three new nominees for its next sensational business award, to be celebrated at the next quarterly luncheon.
Among the top three nominees for this quarter's award are Sandy Cinema, Sandy Family Restaurant and U.S. World Class Taekwondo.
The Sandy Post has featured each business in an effort to better acquaint the community with the nominees before the voting process in the coming weeks.
Back at the turn of the century, before Sandy was quite the city it is now, a survey was done. It asked students what they wanted most from their community. The overwhelming response was that local kids wanted a movie theater. At the time the city was concerned its youths would get into trouble without proper opportunities for entertainment, so it called cinema owner Elie Kassab of Prestige Theaters to build Sandy's own theater.
"The city was easy to deal with (and) they helped look at a few sites," Kassab said. "When the time came for applications and permits they were very helpful."
On May 16, 2002, Sandy Cinema opened at 16605 Champion Way with "Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones."
"We responded to a (need) of the community," Kassab added. "It's been popular since we opened it. The city has definitely grown."
Besides offering a place to see all the latest Hollywood blockbusters, Sandy Cinema has also tried hard to "become part of the community."
One way Kassab said it has done this is by building a relationship and rewards system with the Oregon Trail School District.
"We have a great program that is near and dear to our hearts," he explained. The program is what Kassab calls the Super Student Pass. "We felt — as a parent myself — I like to encourage my children to do well and reward them."
That is why he gives out free movie passes for academic excellence.
"The teachers absolutely love the program," Kassab said.
The cinema also donates movie passes to nonprofit organizations in Sandy, sponsors toy, food and blood drives, and it serves as an emergency location for the school district.
"We serve smaller communities," Kassab said. "We do it for the love of community and we do it because there is a need."