The niche programming and addition of two screens helped the Drexel survive, but the theatre suffered a financial crisis during the recession of 2009, with decreased attendance and several art film distributors going out of business.

Concerned the neighborhood treasure was in danger of closing, a group of committed community leaders and arts patrons created Friends of the Drexel, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to sustaining the future of the historic theatre. In 2011, when the Franks were ready to retire, Friends of the Drexel purchased the Drexel Theatre and brought in CAPA to manage operations.