My opinion of the Paragon Theater began forming even before I walked into its massive lobby-atrium.
I’ve heard whispers of it in reverence, like this was some kind of divine entity (coincidentally, “paragon” means “perfect example”). Having my bags packed, as it were, I finally had the opportunity to experience this lionized phenomena on my own.
City Center at Oyster Point is a shopping area off of Thimble Shoals Boulevard orbiting an impressive array of fountains. While the shopping center itself was already attractive, Paragon City Center 12 is a suitable addition.
After a brief stint finding a suitable (and legal) parking space, along with a pleasant walk by nearby Tuscano’s, its youthful pep-tunes blaring, I was greeted by an enigmatic young cashier. His co-workers and manager seemed to be equally as jovial.
It’s no wonder then that junior Zachary Piggott, a full-time employee at Paragon, said, “The positive days heavily outweigh the negative ones. And my co-workers are one of the most important reasons I love my job.”
The mood was infectious, and no one is immune as they wind their way through just one of Paragon’s innumerable hallways. The air itself seemed to be steeped in exuberance.
It seems that finally, theaters are starting to understand that tiered seating is the path to happier and more abundant customers. Paragon even takes it one step further. The individual theater is dotted with plush leather couches with full reclining ability, cup-holders and tables that swivel for convenience. Though there were no chandeliers or classical music drifting in the background, I suddenly found myself planted in the middle of luxury.
My particular showing of the movie was sparse in attendance, which enhanced the regal atmosphere. I imagine the atmosphere would not change much if the room was packed for a midnight showing.
Everywhere in Paragon felt like home, from the extra convenience of comfortable seating along with readily available and affordable food. There are two restaurants inside: the Bar, and Mi Pie, a create-your-own-pizza pizzeria. The general manager of Paragon, Bruce Farrior, said, laughing, that his favorite pizza is “spinach, anchovies and pineapple.”
Considering that Paragon is just an infant compared to some of the other movie theater giants, opening in Newport News May of this year, it has nonetheless worn it’s juvenility with pride. Popularity has been above and beyond what was expected of this “Florida-flavored” theater. Farrior put it best when he said this “really sets the stage for other entertainment businesses.” Indeed. Their competition has reason to fear.