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April 23, 2013 | 02:35 PMWilliam and Kathy Jachimek, new owners of the Geneva Theater in downtown Lake Geneva, sent the Lake Geneva Regional News an email late Monday.
About two weeks ago, the Regional News contacted Dr. Richard Jachimek, a Florida chiropractor who owns property in Lake Geneva, in hopes of reaching the new owners. Richard Jachimek said he didn't know about the theater, and knew little about the new owners, who were distant relatives. But apparently, he contacted them later.
The new owners' email explains why they wanted to buy the building and what they plan to do with it.
The following is the body of the email:
"Our family recently purchased the old theater. We had a distant cousin call last week to tell us that you were trying to locate the theater buyers. We live in Phoenix most of the year and have recently purchased a second home in Lake Geneva. My wife, the former Kathy Cook, grew up there. Three months ago I discovered the theater for sale on a site loopnet.com. It was listed for $895,000, which caught my interest. Last month we were surprised it was still for sale and our local broker Tyler Meyer negotiated for three days and we purchased it. We have a fondness for old buildings and, like most people, we feel this building is special.
"We were in town last week and had a chance to view the theater. We hope we came on the scene just in time to prevent further damage with a new roof first thing on the list.
"Shortly after purchasing it we found out about the effort to save the theater and feel badly that they have not been able to close the deal yet. Our initial plan was to turn it into retail space and had someone offer to lease it and turn it into an antique mall. After viewing the theater we are committed to keeping it as an entertainment venue as a possible dinner theater with a venue compared to the Fireside in Fort Atkinson. We also would welcome ideas from the community. For us its still an investment so in the long run it will have to be a money making venture."
The email ends with a contact number for Kathy Jachimek. William Jachimek is traveling this week.
Kathy Jachimek answered a call to that number. She said she grew up on Cook's Cranberry Hill Farm in the town of Lyons on Cranberry Road. She said her home was just four miles from the Playboy Club, now the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa.
The Geneva Theater is where she saw "Godzilla" and "King Kong" for free.
"You know, the Japanese movies where their mouths move and then the English words come out later," she said.
Jachimek said the theater would regularly have free matinees for the kids on days there was no school.
"I'm sure the theater made money since we all bought popcorn and sodas," she said.
The building is in need of restoration, Jachimek said.
Jachimek also said that a childhood friend who still lives in the Lake Geneva area has provided her and her husband with information about the Friends of Geneva Theater, who are also trying to preserve the theater. She said they haven't contacted the group.