‘I will miss you all’: Kings Mountain drive-in theater closes
The owner of a drive-in movie theater in Cleveland County announced it’s closing after seven seasons.
Our partners at the Shelby Star report the Kings Mountain properties were sold to Albemarle Corporation last year, which is a specialty chemical company that eventually plans to use the properties to mine materials used in lithium batteries, the newspaper reports.
In a Facebook post, owner Preston Brown shared some of the biggest achievements he reached with Hound’s Drive-In Theater. He talked about how the theater was able to cement its place in the community during the pandemic.
“We started this journey together with a vision of a campground and drive-in movie theater that ultimately turned into the #1 highest-grossing drive-in theater with the largest screens in the nation,” the post reads. “We broke attendance records not only with other drive-ins, but walk-in theaters also.”
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Brown talked about how, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, hundreds of people would travel to the drive-in for recreation. Channel 9 covered church services, concerts, high school graduations, and movies that Brown and his father hosted at Hound’s.
North Carolina limited the number of people allowed to gather indoors during that time, leaving places like Hound’s as some of the only locations that allowed large gatherings.
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“There are so many things I will miss,” Brown said.
Brown said he’ll miss his employees, who he called the “backbone of the operation,” the drive-in’s seasonal events, and seeing families make memories.
“The top 3 things I won’t miss: #3 I will not miss getting home at 5 a.m., #2 I will not miss working in the rain, #1 I will not miss having to tell customers to turn their headlights off during the movies,” Brown said.
Brown expressed frustration with Cleveland County’s local government over the drive-in, saying he hoped things would change in the future. He said when he sold the land, he tried to move the drive-in to another spot, but his plan was rejected by local leaders. He is now liquidating everything he has, which isn’t the ending he wanted to this story.
He closed the post by thanking his family.
“After the birth of our precious son Corbin in 2021, I have truly learned how precious time is and I want to spend weekends and summers with them,” he said.
He also thanked his father, who ran the drive-in with him.
“Last I would like to thank my father, Mike Brown for believing in me and my dream. Without his support I could not have made it the #1 Drive-in in the nation,” Brown said. “I love you Daddy. We did it!”
(WATCH BELOW: Kings Mountain drive-in loses at least one screen as violent storms pound Carolinas)