Business owners react to filming
By LPR Staff
Now that much of the dust has settled on the Courthouse Square, local business owners are beginning to reflect on how the filming of the “Untitled Kimberly Peirce Project” in downtown Lockhart affected the community.
“I have mixed emotions,” said Sybil Kaigler. “I can’t say that it was all bad, but I can’t
say that I really benefitted from it, either.”
Kaigler, who has owned a boutique on the Square for more than 30 years, expressed concern that her out of town customers could not get to her store because San Antonio Street was closed for several days for the filming.
“I honestly had people call me and tell me that they tried to come in, but they couldn’t get to me,” Kaigler said. “When you have out of town customers, they don’t know what’s going on in town…. they didn’t know about the shuttle system.”
According to Dorothy Harper, owner of Javamotion, her business suffered as a result of the filming. Many of Harper’s coffee-shop customers routinely drop in for a cup of coffee on the way to work, while others lounge on the patio or at tables indoors for hours.
“Unless they wanted to park far away, my customers couldn’t just drop in,” she said. Worse, Harper complained, a food and beverage table for the movie’s cast and crew was set up just outside her restaurant.
“I can understand that they need to feed people and give them drinks,” she said. “But they shouldn’t have set up right outside my front door.”
On the other hand, other businesses fared well as a result of the filming.
Tami Taylor of Absolute Images noted that, prior to filming, she was contacted by the hairstyling department for the film, and her salon was hired to give flattop haircuts to 60 extras that appeared in the scenes.
“They came in before we started,a nd we just kept cutting until we were done with everyone that we needed to do,” she said.
Taylor had no complaints about the street in front of her business being closed.
“Every single one of my customers, except one, that had an appointment made their appointment,” Taylor said. “The one who didn’t make it forgot.”
According to Paramount’s locations manager Robby Friedmann, the studio looked at several communities in the area, but it was director Kimberly Peirce who ultimately settled on Lockhart for filming.
“It’s really a very charming place,” Friedmann said of the Courthouse Square. “We scouted several locations within 30 miles of Austin… but we brought [Peirce] here and it was settled immediately. She just fell in love with it.”
Friedmann noted that filming on location in Lockhart should bring an economic boost to the community.
“The businesses that were affected by the filming were reimbursed,” he said. “I’d rather not say what we paid them, but I think that, between the 600 extras, and the folks staying in hotels in the area and eating and buying gas, those kinds of things, we probably brought a boost of $200,000 or $300,000.”
Lockhart’s Economic Development Director Sandra Mauldin is not so sure.
“I haven’t seen any figures – they don’t have them ready for me yet,” she said. “But judging by what I have seen and heard, I would say the figure is closer to $50,000 or so.”
Mauldin was alarmed to hear that some businesses had complained about the filming.
“Those business owners are our customers,” she said. “And the City didn’t get paid for letting them be here. If they follow our ordinances, they don’t need permission to film… but if they are disturbing our people and our businesses, we need to look at that.”
Paramount Pictures will be back in Lockhart on Sept. 14 to continue filming.