Tennessee town ‘wouldn’t have a movie theater' without U.S. Bank

June 09, 2022
Branden Joynt at his Newport 4 Cinema, joined by bankers Paige Rhodes and Josh Wice.

Newport Cinema 4 survived the pandemic and recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Branden Joynt started his movie theater career as a teenager in Central Kentucky. It was then that he fell in love with the big screen and fresh popcorn. 

“I’ve always loved the movies,” said the 38-year-old. 

Eager to learn the business and take on expanded responsibilities, Joynt’s employer sent him to assess the Newport Cinema 4 in Newport, Tennessee. He returned from the visit to tell his boss he thought the local theater was a good investment. His boss disagreed, but Joynt decided to take a gamble and went out on his own. He worked with his local U.S. Bank branch to open a business account and secure a premiere line of credit and loan. With the financial support he needed, his offer to lease the theater was accepted in March 2012. Joynt was just 28 years old at the time.

“U.S. Bank financed 100 percent of my startup costs,” he reflected, noting he was excited that the bank had a branch in Newport, a town of less than 7,000 near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He started a relationship with the local bank team there, including Paige Rhodes, now branch manager, and eventually Josh Wice, business banking relationship manager.  

“We’ve worked with Branden for a long time. When he purchased the theater, the equipment was antiquated so we helped him secure a loan so he could convert 35-millimeter film to digital,” said Rhodes. 

Joynt remembers how even in the early days Rhodes went above and beyond to help him achieve his business goals. “She took a chance on me,” he said. “If it weren’t for U.S. Bank and Paige, Newport wouldn’t have a local theater.” 

Joynt wants to ensure that Newport continues to have a movie theater to provide local entertainment and said the kind of support he has received from U.S. Bank is what he loves about his local community. “During the pandemic, like most movie theatres, we had to shut down. But we tried to be creative in still providing a respite for people. We hosted outdoor movies and $5 bucket of popcorn days where we had long lines of cars lined up to buy popcorn that could be enjoyed at home. I think every person at U.S. Bank came through the line to buy popcorn,” he recalled, adding that when Wice came through the line he shared a memorable moment of encouragement. 

Business is once again looking brighter for Joynt, who recently celebrated his 10th anniversary in the community and was awarded a key to the city of Newport. Many U.S. Bank employees attended the festivities.  

“The industry is tracking in the right direction and people are participating in life again,” he said. “Our job is to remind people that they used to go to the movies for fun!” 

Over the last decade, U.S. Bank has partnered alongside Joynt for numerous business and personal transactions. He laughed when thinking back to his introduction to the movie theater business when his company accepted cash only. “Utilizing merchant services for the first time was a big deal,” he recalled. “I’ve learned so much as a small business owner, and of course, now I manage the financial side of my business utilizing digital technologies for payments and more,” he added. 

“I don’t think of a bank as a lender but as a community partner. Communities grow through their local banks,” he noted. “Paige has been the shining star in the life of our company. She and the local team believe in us and have shown us amazing support.” 

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