After 20 years of occupying an Uptown landmark, Amish Originals will move from the old State Theater at 8 N. State St. to consolidate operations at its north location, 38 N. State St., by the end of this year.

After 20 years of occupying an Uptown landmark, Amish Originals will move from the old State Theater at 8 N. State St. to consolidate operations at its north location, 38 N. State St., by the end of this year.

The decision to vacate the State Theater building was sparked by plans of the building's owner, Larry Belskis, to sell the building, Amish Originals owner Doug Winbigler said.

Winbigler owns the building at 38 N. State St.

"We own that building, and we don't own this building," Winbigler said. "We didn't want to take a chance and have a building owner that said, 'We don't want you here.' ... We thought, 'We need to take matters into our own hands.' "

The move was made possible by the closing of the children's store, Hey Diddle Diddle, earlier this year. The second story of the building also was vacated earlier this year by Gallery 202, which opened other locations in Uptown.

Belskis has not formally listed the old State Theater property but said he might choose to do so soon.

He has owned the property since 1981, when he and his wife, Amy Belskis, purchased it to house her women's clothing shop, the Clothes Show.

The shop closed in 1992, when Amy Belskis retired, making way for Amish Originals.

The former movie theater building today comprises six units -- three upper-level apartments and the three storefronts occupied by Amish Originals.

Belskis said he has talked to several potential buyers with different uses in mind for the theater.

City officials also have been in talks with Belskis and potential buyers.

A recent marketing study on Uptown commissioned by the city showed a demand for entertainment venues in Uptown, assistant city manager Julie Colley said, and the city is interested in helping Belskis find a developer who could return the State Theater to a theater.

"We are definitely watching what's happening, and we are very interested in facilitating a discussion. ... It's a tremendous opportunity for Uptown," Colley said. "We have brought a lot of people to the table to see if we can turn this from a dream into a reality."

The theater stopped showing movies in the late 1970s, Belskis said. The previous owner removed the seats from the theater, Belskis said, and walls were added over time, but the stage, the landmark marquis and other elements of the theater remain.

"We made a lot of changes to it, but we tried to keep the theatric theme. That's why we called it the 'Clothes Show,' " he said.

Belskis said he's willing to work with the city to see if a buyer could be found to help restore the theater.

A timeline has not been set for when Amish Originals will vacate its space in the theater building, Winbigler said.

The building at 38 N. State St. has to undergo renovations to accommodate a consolidated Amish Originals, such as removing walls, redoing the stairway and adding an elevator, Winbigler said.

Plans for the renovation are before the city for the approval process, he said.

Winbigler said he plans to focus on renovating the new location and moving in by the end of year before exploring the possibility of making exterior improvements to the building next year.

The move will result in a loss of about 1,000 square feet for Amish Originals, but Winbigler said he plans to keep the same amount of inventory, and the consolidation of the business in one building will help with operations.

"We'll miss the theater. There's no question," he said. "In 20 years, we've never had the entire operation under one roof. ... It's going to help us with our communications. It's going to help us with our costs.

"As much as we didn't want to leave the theater, it's an exciting change for us."