Nearly 20,000 residents have signed a petition that calls to save a longtime Naperville movie theater from being demolished to make way for a proposed Costco store.
Ogden 6 Theatre, which is located in a shopping center in the 1200 block of East Ogden Avenue, has been in existence since the 1970s and is well-known for its $5 movies.
Krysten Holley, a former employee who started a Change.org petition to save the theater, called the establishment a "shining diamond" and said it would be devastating to see the beloved business go away.
"The experience is personal and you start to remember the faces that come in," Holley said in the petition. "I have bonded immensely with the regular guests that come in, and I'm forever grateful for them and the kindness they have shown me."
Thousands of moviegoers have shared their memories on the petition — from first dates to engagements, birthdays and much more.
"It's more than just seeing a movie and having popcorn," said longtime customer Amanda Johnson. "You know you're going to leave with a brighter day."
In a statement sent to NBC 5 Friday afternoon, Mayor Steve Chirico said the city values Ogden 6 as a business, and Naperville should be able to have both the movie theater and a second Costco.
"We value all the small businesses at the Ogden Mall and want to make sure we do everything we can to encourage them during this relocation process," Chirico added. "At the same time, the addition of Costco will restore the East Ogden corridor back to a vibrant business district.”
Although the city has offered to help with relocating the theater, Chris Johnson, CEO of its parent company Classic Cinemas, said relocation could cost millions of dollars.
The city council is expected to discuss the theater's fate at a meeting next week.