Local Entrepreneurs Repurpose Scituate Movie Theater


Local entrepreneurs have converted part of the old Mill Wharf Cinema into a headquarters for their business, O2X Human Performance

Anna Kelly and Grace McNamara

When the Mill Wharf Cinema, located in Scituate Harbor, shut down during the pandemic, it felt like the inevitable–especially since Netflix, Hulu, and HBOMax had gained popularity. That is until three former Navy Seals—Gabriel Gomez, Adam La Reau, and Paul McCullough—decided to take action. Looking for a headquarters for their business, O2X, the trio of entrepreneurs ultimately selected the Scituate movie theater for its size and location.

However, they didn’t want to lose the magic of a local theater. 

So, Gomez, La Reau, and McCollough joined forces with the Witko family and decided on a compromise: make the space half O2X and half movie theater. This group of family friends are in the midst of raising their families, with twelve school-aged children between them. Hoping to provide a space for creating more family memories, the team is looking forward to preserving the legacy of a Scituate harbor cinema. 

The O2X space is vast, taking advantage of the square footage of one of the two movie theaters. The other theater is where the new Reel  Harbor Theater will be located. Everything in the theater will feel familiar; however, the entrance has changed: Instead of entering the theater lobby near Nona’s Homemade Ice Cream Shop, patrons will enter from a sidewalk off Front Street.  

With one theater, the options of films and timeframes are much more limited. The current plan is to stay open four days a week—Thursday through Sunday—cycling through child, teen, and adult movies. Emily McCollough, co-owner of the Reel Harbor Theater, is aiming to spend 40 hours with the original owner to learn the cinematic ropes. Until then, she and her team have a lot of design and construction work to finish before their summer opening.

Located opposite from the theater, O2X, is a company that develops and implements large-scale wellness programs for different organizations, with a focus on government entities.

O2X’s headquarters are almost fully-developed, with employees from the South Shore working in person, and hundreds more clocking in virtually from across America. 

McCollough describes O2X as, for example, visiting a group for a week and educating employees/personnel about health, sleep, and wellness. “Basically,” she elaborated, “our specialists speak to them about everything in their life to try and better their human performance.”

After the program, the focus group gains access to an exercise and wellness app. “As they buy into the program of O2X,” McCollough summarized,”they get in-person service, and an app that goes with it.”

The theater is expected to reopen this June before the summer begins and will be renamed “The Reel Harbor Theater.” To emulate the Town of Scituate, the theater will keep its character and add a “nautical flare.” McCollough, who also acts as the interior designer for The Reel, exclaimed, “We’re getting wallpaper with cute fishing poles!” 

Regarding the plan for concessions, McCollough said, “The plan is to sell candy and popcorn at first, and soda from a regular cooler due to the maintenance of soda fountains.” 

SHS senior Lilly George expressed delight at the news of reopening the movie theater: “I spent my childhood going to watch movies there with my friends and family.” George added, “I’m happy that my younger step-siblings will be able to experience the magic of a local theater.”

“Some of my favorite memories growing up are going to the movies with my friends and getting Nona’s ice cream after,” said SHS senior Emily Love.  “It’s exciting to hear the movie theater is coming back to life for everyone in town.”

If you’re looking for a fun summer job, stay tuned–jobs for the theater should be announced by May! The current vision is to hire high school students to run the theater. 

“It’s nice having a movie theater in our small town,” said SHS senior Rebecca Murray. “Plus, it’s so much better than watching online.”