Lazy Dog Vintage Market in Hamburg recently donated $5,000 to The Hamburg Strand Theatre.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt many small businesses including The Strand. The theater has been a hallmark of Hamburg since 1920. We wanted to do our part in helping the community keep its beloved history,” said Lazy Dog Vintage Market owners Ashley and Justin Zimmerman. “The Hamburg community, like most communities, has lost so much in the past year. By helping The Strand, it may give hope to the community that we are all here to help each other and get through this pandemic together.”

The donation was raised by hosting the Wine, Chocolate & Cheese event on Nov. 13 which united Downtown Hamburg businesses, encouraged local shopping and supported The Hamburg Strand Theatre.

The Zimmerman’s said it was a relaxing evening with friends and family. Customers were able to shop after hours while enjoying some wines, cheeses and chocolates.

“The wine walk was such a great idea that really brought people into town and showed all the small businesses in town their support. It was such a fun night with an amazing outcome,” said Bethany Sholl, Strand manager. “We really appreciate Lazy Dog for spearheading the idea and all the businesses that participated by handing out the wine samples. It really bonded the community together. We really felt the love!”

The Zimmerman’s sold more than 200 tickets at $20 a person. All monies made from ticket sales went to The Hamburg Strand Theater, enabling them to present a $5,000 donation to The Strand on behalf of the Lazy Dog Vintage Market.

“To be honest, it was overwhelming, to say the least, in a very good way. We were beyond pleased by the amount of participation and support for this event,” said Zimmerman. “We are hoping the money that was raised will help The Strand pay monthly expenses and salaries until they are able to reopen to the public.”

“We were so excited!” said Sholl about the donation. “We participated in the wine walk fundraiser, so we were able to see how successful it was then, but had no idea the proceeds would be so much!”

“I was ecstatic that they were able to sell so many tickets. I think everyone is looking for something fun to do since so many events and activities were canceled in 2020,” said Deena Kershner, Executive Director

Our Town Foundation which owns and operates The Strand.

Sholl hopes this donation helps The Strand to pay the bills while the theater is shut down and has little income.

Kershner explained that the theater has been shuttered since mid-March so there has been no income coming in at all except the money they made on the couple popcorn pick-ups and on the marquee advertising.

“We still have a mortgage, heating expenses and all of our utility expenses to pay so any donation we receive is helping to defray those expenses,” said Kershner.

The Strand scheduled holiday movies to run for five weekends, and had to cancel all but the first week due to the Governor's recent orders to shut theaters down. Prior to that, the theater was able to operate at 25% capacity but the costs to show a movie to only a handful of people would have been more than the proceeds, she said.

In addition, the film companies are not releasing new movies that were scheduled to be released in 2020. Some releases have been postponed and others have gone directly to live streaming, said Kershner.

“We have had plans to reopen several times in the past 9 months only to find out there were no new movies coming out to even show. When we finally decided to do our Christmas series, we had been able to sell pretty many tickets,” said Sholl. “Sadly, about two weeks into the series, the new shutdown happened and we had to close and refund all the prepurchased tickets. We were so bummed about that.”

“The theater is a major asset to the community and from comments made by several people, they are missing The Strand and hope it can reopen soon,” said Kershner. “Our Town Foundation saved the theater from its demise by purchasing it in 2013, and since that time we have put over $200,000 into renovations and improvements, most of which was raised through our Save Our Strand capital campaign that was kicked off in 2014, and from grants. Due to the loss of income this year, we once again kicked off the Save our Strand campaign and the donation of $5,000 from the Wine, Chocolate, and Cheese fundraiser is a great contribution.”

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Strand Theater can do so either by sending a check to Our Town Foundation, made payable to the Hamburg Strand Theater, or by donating through the Our Town Foundation page on Go Fund Me. The Foundation's address is 320 State Street, Hamburg. The website link to Go Fund Me is https://bit.ly/2LLoknA.

“The public has been very supportive of the theater in the past, and we are hoping that their support continues,” said Kershner.

Sholl said that The Strand is a place people can be together in the community.

“Everyone loves coming to the movies! We have such an amazingly supportive community and we miss seeing everyone! When we have popcorn pickups, we are always happy to see our regulars coming in,” said Sholl. “We hope that we will be able to open up soon and continue to be a meeting place for our community!”

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