Over 30 years back, Rick Skinner was ruminating on the concept that, 10 years later, would become the Flicks that Boiseans have known and loved for years.
What's different about the Flicks? A lot-not merely that it's one of only two independent movie theaters in Boise (the other being the Egyptian). Besides being the only place to see films you can't see locally elsewhere, Rick and Carole Skinner offer movie rentals-chosen with the same sub-radar aesthetic-and delicious food and drink alongside the usual movie theater concessions.
Back in the late '70s and early '80s, Boiseans didn't have an opportunity to see small, independent films or those that weren't mainstream, well-known movies. Says Carole, back then, Rick was looking for a venue to screen "films that didn't come to Boise." Rick was part of a group aptly called Films That Don't Come to Boise; they rented space "here and there" to show non-mainstream films. Looking to make a more permanent arrangement and fill the local independent movie void that existed at the time, Rick began searching for just the right space for their project. He looked for eight years. When Rick and Carole met, Rick already had the land and the architectural drawings, and the Skinners started up the Flicks within the year.
In the Flicks' early years, Boise was a different place. It was smaller and less amenable to niche markets. The Skinners struggled for some time to make their business a success, and for the first seven years of its existence, the Flicks lost money. The local economy was in a slump and people were moving out of Boise.
"Then," says Carole, "Boise grew-that's the main thing." The business began to flourish.
The Flicks is not just a vibrant local independent business, however. The Skinners have made a conscious point of being involved in their community. They see the ability to have a positive local impact as one of many great aspects to running their business. "We felt fortunate that we are able to do fundraisers for local nonprofits," says Carole. "We've always been involved in different good causes-we support a variety of nonprofits personally and through our business. We've found the fundraisers even more effective that writing a personal check." Even after years in the business and proven success, operating an independent movie theater can be a challenge. With a multiplex going in across the street from their theater, the Skinners hope the Flicks will continue to thrive in spite of the competition at their door. She says simply, "There's concern. There are only so many butts to put in the seats of the movie theater."
But don't worry-the Skinners are nothing if not persevering. New things are happening all the time at the Flicks. "Speaking of 'the butts,'" Carole mentions that the Flicks has ordered all new seats for theaters 2, 3 and 4. The Skinners strive to keep the Flicks in "really great condition" and the equipment upgraded, all in order to stay competitive.
She says proudly of the theater, "We do everything we can to make it a pleasant experience."