The Barron Theatre will close its doors in August or early September.

Sometime in mid to late August or early September, the Barron Theatre will close its doors but hopefully not forever.

The Barker family, that owns the theatre, has decided not to continue operations so they can spend more time with their family, said Tim Barker, theatre operator.

The Barron has contractual obligations to play movies through the new release season that will end in August.

The Barkers have been in conversation with a number of individuals and groups about taking over the operation of the theatre but nothing materialized from those conversations, Barker said.

This has been a tough decision for the family because they love the theatre and don't want to see it closed. Barker had his first date with his wife Kelli in the Barron so the family has emotional ties with the theatre.

"We're not walking away from that kind of history lightly. We've thought and prayed about this for a long time," Barker said.

They will continue to seek and listen to any individual or organization that has an interest in keeping the theatre open. The theatre is a viable business and whoever buys it will take over a profitable business.

But whoever is interested has to be organized and they have to have a plan for the Barkers to consider them as a new owner.

"There's a lot more to the movie industry than showing up and sitting in a chair," Barker said.

The decision was also made when the movie industry is shifting from 35 mm film to digital format. It would take from $110,000 to $130,000 to make the transition to digital in the Barron and Barker said they didn't want to spend the money. Now was the time for the family to make the move out of the industry.

"We're not going to be the ones to take it to the next level," Barker said.

Check Thursday's Tribune for a full story on the Barron Theatre closing.