The manager of the Pavilion Cinema in Galashiels hopes a new membership and loyalty scheme will see people return to the idea of going to the movies as a social occasion.
And the cinema has also invested in its future, with a £90,000 refit, making the seats in all four of its screens more comfortable.
Andrew Poole said: “When we took over the cinema in October 1995, we underwent renovation from one screen to four, which was a huge investment.
“Back then, people came to the cinema for a night out. They would come regularly, and just turn up at the box office and ask what films we had on that night.
“Nowadays, people tend to just come and watch a particular film.”
After a survey of customers, he found that although the cinema was well thought of, there was one particular point that kept popping up.
He said: “Although we always knew people liked to come here, we didn’t realise how much, as people were saying we provided a hugely valued service.
“One of the few areas of concern that our customers voiced was that the seats were getting uncofortable.
“We identified that ourselves, and the time had come to bite the bullet and invest in the future of the cinema here in Galashiels and the wider Borders.
“So last summer we began to look for a contractor.
“There were a few options open to us. We could have ripped out all the seats and put in multiplex-style leather recliners with cup holders, but that would have seriously reduced our capacity down by about 60%. It would also have been ridiculously expensive and we would never have covered the costs. We are just not busy enough.
“So, the best option we came up with is to fully refurbish the existing seats by making templates of the seating components, having new components made, and then swapping new for old.
“We did this without closing the cinema even for a day.”
Fewer people are using the cinema these days – the advent of Netflix and other streaming sites being a low-cost method of seeing films at home.
So Andrew wants to make going to the cinema a more regular social option, by launching a new membership scheme.
He said: “There are two membership tiers. They get free cinema tickets when they sign up, and they get a pound off their tickets all year, and up to 10% off their purchases at the sweetie counter.”
Andrew added that he is also investing in his staff, as he is putting two existing personnel through a cinema apprenticeship.
He said: “It’s a brand new apprenticeship for cinema operators and they start their training later this month.”