Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

New owners set to revitalize Hitching Post Theaters


Lorena Semerenko and Amber Mitchell stand outside the newly purchased Hitching Post Theaters, excited to embark on its revitalization journey.

On Feb. 19, the last movie played at the iconic Hitching Post Theaters. With the unexpected passing of owner Will Viner on Feb. 16, his family made the difficult decision to close the theater. The Tehachapi community was understandably distressed, as the theater has been a cornerstone of our town since 1994. There has been speculation by locals worried the theater would be changed into another business entirely, and hope that it would be purchased and refurbished.

The community's prayers have been answered. Amber Mitchell and Lorena Semerenko, along with their husbands Chris and Toby, have recently purchased the beloved movie theater and the new owners are eager to breathe fresh life into it.

Amber Mitchell shared their vision for the Hitching Post and their plans for the future with The Loop newspaper.

"We're super excited for the community's involvement," Mitchell said. "We've reached out on Facebook for ideas because this theater has been a beloved community space for so long, and we want to keep it that way."

One of the main areas of focus for the new owners is making necessary improvements to the theater. Mitchell mentioned that expanding and improving the bathrooms is a common suggestion they've received. Additionally, they plan to refresh and revamp the theater, while maintaining its charm and character.

When asked about the timeline for these changes, Mitchell said, "We would like to have it open within a month, but realistically probably in the next two or three months." This timeline reflects their commitment to making thoughtful renovations while also aiming to reopen the theater to the public as soon as possible.

The community's support and involvement are essential to the success of this revitalization project. Mitchell encourages anyone with suggestions or a desire to contribute to reach out by email to [email protected] and get involved.

As the new owners embark on this exciting journey, the future of the Hitching Post Theaters looks bright, promising to continue its legacy as a cherished gathering place for our community.

"I am so grateful that the theater will be opening and people will be able to come see movies with us again," said Chris Thurlow, previous general manager since 2008. "I am excited to be returning as general manager, and to see all the planned updates and improvements take shape. I'll be very happy to see some familiar faces come through that door again."