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Mel Tillis Sells Branson Theater

July 12, 2002

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BRANSON, Mo. (AP) _ Country singer Mel Tillis has sold his theater in Branson to the owner of the Hobby Lobby chain.

Tillis announced Wednesday that his 2,600-seat theater and 13 acres of land had been purchased by David Green, owner of the Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby stores. Green immediately leased the theater to the Tri-Lakes Assembly of God.

The sale price was not disclosed.

Tillis, 69, said he will perform another 135 shows in the theater through New Year’s Eve.

After that, he plans to write songs; record an album with his band, the Statesiders; and a Christmas album with his family. He’ll divide his time among a Branson home and farms in Tennessee and Florida.

The Assemblies of God Loan Fund purchased the 13 acres across from the theater, but has no immediate plans for the property, said Thomas Trask, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God Church International.

Tillis came to Branson in 1990, opening his show at what is now the Yakov Smirnoff Theatre. In 1992, Tillis built a 2,100-seat theater, now the Will Rogers Theatre.

He built the Mel Tillis Theater in 1994.

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