The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

June 9, 2009

Lasky turns over keys to Westwood theater

Blake Fleegle has held just about every job a movie theater has to offer: Usher, cashier, projectionist and concession worker.

Now, he can add a new title to his cinematic resume: Owner.

At the tender age of 23, the Somerset resident has purchased the Westwood Plaza Theatre & Cafe in Lower Yoder Township.

Prominent businessman Andy Lasky already has handed the keys to Fleegle. But the two are working closely, and not much is expected to change at a small movie house that has become a Johnstown institution.

“There’s just a new person sitting at the desk,” Fleegle said Tuesday.

Fleegle’s purchase, which was completed Friday for an undisclosed price, culminates Lasky’s approximately yearlong search for a successor.

Lasky, 52, announced last year that he would attempt to sell the theater that he had extensively renovated and opened in 1993.

Lasky, who also owns City View Bar & Grill atop the city’s Inclined Plane, said the work involved with running two seven-day-a-week businesses had “taken a particular toll” on him and his wife, Katie.

But he also promised that he would not sell the theater unless he found the right buyer. And it’s clear that, in Lasky’s eyes, Fleegle fits that description.

“He’s perfect for the job,” Lasky said Tuesday. “He has five years’ experience in the business, and he’s passionate about film.”

Fleegle graduated from Somerset Area High School in 2004 and received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Duquesne University in May 2008.

He was working in Canada for Nova Scotia’s Department of Health when his mother sent him a newspaper clipping about Lasky’s plan to sell the Westwood theater.

Fleegle and Lasky first met late last year. And not much time passed before they were drawing up a business plan.

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