by Terry Rogers
Arthur Helmick, owner of the new Movies 6 in Milford, which will be constructed in the old Sitel/Walmart building on Route 113, says that Milfordians can rest assured that there will be a movie theater in Milford. He hopes to have the theater open by fall.
“As long as the Governor does not shut down construction due to the coronavirus, we are on target,” Helmick said. “My construction foreman is working hard to keep everyone safe. Right now, we are doing steel work which allows us to keep employees more than six feet apart. We are staggering jobs as well to keep people at a safe distance. Right now, we are not stopping and as long as things continue as they are, we really hope to be open by fall.”
Helmick also owns Westown Theater in Middletown and the Main Street Theater in Newark. Both of those theaters were completely remodeled after Helmick purchased them. The theater in Milford will have state-of-the-art projection equipment, recliner seating and a self-serve cafeteria-style food service area. They will also offer beer and wine at the new location. Helmick is also planning a small screening room with a 20-foot screen and about 30 seats that could be rented for events or parties.
“It is tough because movie theaters have been shut down in the state,” Helmick said. “I want to assure everyone that we are fine and as long as this does not go on for a very long time, our movie theaters will be back up and open as quickly as we can. We are nowhere near going under.”
In an effort to give back to the community, the Westown location held a donation drive. They asked people to bring in items to help first responders, including extra bottles of cleaners, hand sanitizer and even masks. The event was held from 11 to 5 on Saturday, March 28.
“This will be an ongoing event,” Helmick said. “It was set up through Christiana Care and with the assistance of Senator Nicole Poole along with the Governor’s office. I know one guy who bought a case of N95 masks and he has only used one. He can bring those unused one to us and we will get them where they need to be. Because we have sliding, automatic doors, people do not need to touch handles or anything. They can just pull up, a volunteer with a mask and gloves will come get the items and take them inside.” Helmick did not have information about additional dates when this would be held at his theaters but said that he would be reaching out through social media and other outlets to get the word out.
Helmick had hoped to be open already but he has met with a few construction delays. It took some time to determine which part of the building would be demolished and then dealing with the things that had to be done in the portion of the building that would remain during the construction process. Because it was a warmer-than-average winter, construction companies remained busy during months when they normally slowed down, leading to additional delays in construction.
“This has been a huge undertaking,” Helmick said. “But I want the people of Milford to have faith. There will be a movie theater in town very soon.”