The Grand Berry Theater
Mission-Driven and Community-Centric
The Grand Berry Theater is truly one of the most unique business in The Foundry District and in Fort Worth itself. The independent film movement has been around for decades, but it’s finally found its home in Fort Worth in a beautifully painted former warehouse now occupied by The Grand Berry.
The husband & wife team behind this concept are Jimmy and Brooke Sweeney, and like all great business stories, it started with identifying a problem. The independent films they loved, and that were garnering national acclaim, seemed impossible to find in Fort Worth. Instead of making routine drives to Dallas or streaming films from home, they took matters into their own hands brought The Grand Berry to life.
We sat down with Jimmy to get his perspective on why Fort Worth needed better access to independent films, why The Foundry was the right home for The Grand Berry, and how their business has adapted to the COVID environment.
We want The Grand Berry to allow people to come together and broaden their worldview.
– Jimmy Sweeney, Owner, The Grand Berry Theatre
Fort Worth has a long-standing reputation of being more traditional than Dallas and Austin, but businesses like The Grand Berry are proving that wrong. What do you think sets Fort Worth apart from those cities?
It’s the sheer size of Fort Worth and how fast it’s growing. There is an expectation from people moving here from elsewhere in the country that there will be small, creative businesses like boutique independent theaters. There is a market that expects it.
There is a tremendous opportunity, as Fort Worth grows, for businesses that are willing to take risks to succeed. One thing we and other businesses in The Foundry District have found is that the coverage you get when you open a business in Fort Worth is unlike anywhere else. New businesses, new concepts; they are celebrated here and the community ensures they can succeed. People are hungry for new experiences in Fort Worth and there is a desire to support what’s new in the city.
Outside of offering the necessary 20-foot ceilings, what made The Foundry District the right home for the theater?
In our opinion, The Foundry District was the first area in Fort Worth committed to showcasing public art that’s homegrown. It’s a place that’s trying to foster a community of creative small businesses with heart who are trying to do things differently. I can’t imagine a better place in the city for a theater like ours!
How has your business adapted to the COVID environment?
We took a two-pronged approach to getting through the shutdown. First, we began offering what distributors called Virtual Cinema. Providing options digitally that couldn’t be found anywhere else to keep the conversation going and creating an alternative to the streaming services.
Second, we were able to quickly roll out an affordable private rental options. For the price of 4 movie tickets, friends and families can attend private screenings at our theater without having to worry about strangers! It’s been a major success and its something we’re still offering, even has more traditional screenings have resumed. All-in-all, we faired well despite the circumstances.
What advice would you give someone in the position you were in a few years, getting ready to embark on their entrepreneurial journey?
Surround yourself with supportive people that you can be open and honest with. If you don’t have this professional, tightknit group, it can be very isolating. To have that community of fellow entrepreneurs to encourage, brainstorm with, and push you – it’s so important! It’s advice I was given initially and pushed off. Now I really know its value.
To learn more about The Grand Berry Theater
Visit GrandBerryTheater.com, follow them via @TheGrandBerryTheaterFTW on Instagram, or visit their beautiful theater at 2712 Weisenberger. We are so proud to have this new community staple in our neck of the woods and love watching them facilitate a meaningful dialogue around the amazing films they showcase.