Theater at East Hills Mall to close

Theater at East Hills Mall to close
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- The United Artists East Hills Mall 10 theater has been a staple of Bakersfield for over 20 years. But the doors will close at the end of this month.

Think of it of just another victim of the recession.

The closing of the theater may have come as a shock to some, but not to Al Smith, whose business just closed due to lack of customers.

With the theater closing, other shop-owners worry about the impact on their businesses. Many owners say the they're worried about the closure because of the extra foot-traffic the theater brought in.

A lot of the remaining stores here at the mall are specialty stores, targeting a very specific customer.

Empty stores and blank signs have become the norm for the East Hills Mall. But store owners say it's not the loss of small neighboring stores they worry about. They were hit hard when major anchor stores like Gottschalk's and Mervyn's went out of business. For now, the theater plans to close on June 27.

Despite the mall's shaky history, shop-owners say it's one of the cheapest places to do business. The rent is about six to ten times less expensive than that at the Market Place or the Valley Plaza.