Iron Horse Movie Bistro in Scranton closes after less than a year, Marketplace says it’s temporary
At midnight last night, the Iron Horse Movie Bistro in downtown Scranton announced suddenly on Facebook that it would be closing its doors after less than a year in business, though the adjacent Marketplace at Steamtown claims this is only temporary.
Run by Phoenix Theatres Entertainment in Knoxville, Tennessee, the theater’s simple Facebook post thanks customers for their patronage, apologizes for any inconvenience, and offers full reimbursement to anyone with gift cards or Super Saver tickets. The Iron Horse website has been taken down, but the Marketplace at Steamtown just posted the following message on its Facebook page at 11:34 a.m.:
As you may have seen already, The Iron Horse Movie Bistro is temporarily closed. We will be back soon, and better than ever! Stay tuned for our updates!
With full service of food and alcohol to patrons sitting in new plush reclining seats, the “luxury movie theater” opened across from the Marketplace at Steamtown on April 28, 2017 after renovating the previous Marquee Cinemas that had closed in that location years before. Allowing moviegoers to choose their seats in advance, Iron Horse was packed during its opening weekend and received positive reviews but seemed to have trouble maintaining those crowds, offering new releases, $5 movies all day on Tuesdays, special screenings of classic films, a rewards club, and special events like the NEPA Horror Film Festival during its run.
While the changing habits of consumers and the convenience of streaming media could partially be blamed, the theater (301 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton) also faced stiff competition from the beginning with the Regal Dickson City Stadium 14 & IMAX in Dickson City less than six miles away and the long-established Cinemark 20 in Moosic just seven miles away. Cinemark and Regal also renovated their theaters to include reclining seats and added the ability to choose your own seats in response to the opening of Iron Horse, leaving Iron Horse without much of an edge over them in the nine months it was open. Though it was the only theater with alcohol, Iron Horse’s beer, cocktails, and mixed drinks were generally priced higher than nearby bars and restaurants.
The new Scranton Public Market at the Marketplace at Steamtown across the street is nearing completion, but there are very few stores currently open in the former mall to attract customers downtown. Iron Horse validated parking in its adjacent garage, and those without transportation could easily walk or take a bus there, but the competing theaters have large parking lots and plenty of nearby stores, shopping centers, and restaurants to attract consumers and keep them busy.
No official reason for the closure have been provided yet, but these factors certainly didn’t help Iron Horse push through its first year. If the Marketplace’s added statement proves to be accurate, the theater may open up again under new management, though no specific timeframe was given.
Those looking for reimbursement of gift cards or Super Saver tickets can mail them to: PBCM LLC, Attn: Accounts Payable, 9111 Cross Park Dr., Suite E-275, Knoxville, TN 37923.
Read NEPA Scene’s full review of Iron Horse’s opening weekend here.