Now Fort William stands to gain a multiplex as part of a controversial regeneration plan, but not everyone is convinced.
The proposed £1 million cinema complex development is one of the cornerstones of a controversial plan to establish the UK's biggest geographical Business Improvement District (BID) in the West Highlands.
The area already promotes itself as being the Outdoor Capital of the UK, and the business plan for a Lochaber BID, seeks to build on that.
It proposes ensuring Lochaber remains a hub for long distance walking in Scotland, develops watersports such a kayaking and tries to win 'Dark Skies' status for the Ardnamurchan Peninsula to promote stargazing.
But it is the indoor development proposals that have raised eyebrows. Businesses with a rateable value of at least £2000 will be able to vote on whether Lochaber proceeds with the BID project which, according to the organisers, over a period of five year periods will raise £1.8m through a levy, to deliver key projects.
Frazer Coupland, chair of Living Lochaber, which is behind the BID project, said: "Having a BID in Lochaber will represent an investment in our future, and will create a better business environment for companies of all sizes and across all sectors."
But some businesses in the area have accused BID organisers of behaving undemocratically and withholding information.
Fort William businessman Stewart MacLean was critical of the plan. He said: "This is a wish list rather than a business plan. It is not focused, achievable or measurable. Are the BID team going to run the cinema themselves? Numerous cinema operators have looked at Fort William and decided against it."
Created in Canada in the 1970s, BIDs spread worldwide and came into force in Scotland in 2007. If supported, a BID will gather fees from local businesses for investment in projects deemed mutually beneficial to the commercial sector.