BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) The company that owns the First & Main shopping center in Blacksburg announced on Tuesday that it severed ties with Frank CineBowl & Grille.
The CineBowl has only been there since 2015, and it's generated considerable excitement in the local community. The facility featured the only IMAX theater in the region, a bowling alley, and a restaurant.
Confusion and frustration at people in charge were common as employees and patrons came to see the locked doors for themselves.
"Not too much shock, more pretty much it makes sense, like I figured this was going to happen eventually," said Grey McAllicer, an employee. He got a text this morning that his employer that just opened two years ago, was closed.
"It's just sad to see it happen this way. Not getting notice is just really not great I think it's kind of messed up," McAllicer said.
None of his coworkers who showed up for work Tuesday spoke highly of their employer, but were expecting to still have a job this week.
"I have no clue what I'm going to do now for a job because I was never told that this place was closing down and I just now pulled up to go to work and finding out all the doors are locked is really blowing my mind," said James, another employee.
Blacksburg APF Partners, the company that owns First and Main shopping center, says in court paperwork filed Tuesday morning that Frank Theatres owes $450,000.01 in unpaid rent and $42,500 in late fees.
Crews started early taking down the signs on the building but no one had answers.
Multiple calls to both Blacksburg APF Partners, the owners of First and Main, and Frank Theatres were not returned.
People who have gift cards and movie tickets now want their money back.
"Upwards of 500 dollars in gift cards and they can't be used now. I'm hoping corporate will do something to refund us that money," said Kristen Neitzold, a patron who just bought gift cards Monday.
The owner, Blacksburg APF Partners, LLC, stated that Frank Theatres did not meet the lease obligations. Blacksburg APF Partners has initiated legal proceedings against Frank Theatres, but did not comment yet on their nature.
The property manager for Blacksburg APF Partners said in a statement that they have "every intention of reopening with a new tenant in the very near future."
The doors were locked Tuesday morning.
This has happened before. Last year a Frank Theatres location in Kingsport, Tennessee, was evicted from its building also for not paying rent.