Clyde 50th anniversary party

At The Clyde’s 50th anniversary party

Blake Willeford bought The Clyde Theatre from Norm and Hazel Clyde in February of 1972, shortly after returning from three years with the Peace Corps in northern India. (and ever since has disconcerted Langley tourists in saris or salwar kameez by speaking to them in Hindi.) Lynn joined him in life and business in 1976.

In general Blake handles anything with three-dimensions, so ask him your questions about the building or equipment. Lynn handles the abstract—researching and booking films, doing the advertising, creating special events, and writing publicity and social-media content. They split the financial chores and what would in real businesses be referred to as HR.

No one at The Clyde works full-time, and some aren’t even paid. Blake was until recently a carpenter during the day, and Lynn still works as a freelance editor and writer. She is also a serial social entrepreneur, having founded Hearts & Hammers, Friends of Friends Medical Support Fund, and Fair University; co-founded the Back to School Program and Whidbey Island Local Lending; and been a founding member of WOW!Stories.

The six or seven part-time employees in the projection booth, the snack bar, and the cleaning closet run their own for-profit and nonprofit businesses during the day, or manage or act as support staff at local businesses. (You’ll see their profiles over the next year in blog posts.) They have all been with The Clyde for years, and in some cases for decades.

At The Clyde's 75th anniversary party

At The Clyde’s 75th anniversary party

The same goes for the volunteers in the box office—one has been showing up every Thursday since 1983. Over the years our ticket sellers have included a mayor, a school board president, the heads of county departments, artists, and other varieties of small-town royalty. There has always been a waiting list for the job, which pays only in free admissions for your family, a pop and popcorn for yourself, and the sense of being part of something fun.

The Willefords’ copywriter son Brook acts as an advisor on matters from marketing to building upgrades. He will be joining them in the management of the theater in 2014.