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Harmony theater prepares to reopen; owners hope its the last

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Jem Theatre in Harmony

HARMONY, Minn. (FOX 47) — On Monday, movie theaters can reopen to the public at a 25 percent capacity.

Theaters stopped public showings in the fall.

“It’s been a roller coaster. It’s been a roller coaster of a year of, ‘we’re gonna come back, and then no. We’re gonna do this and then no,” said Amber Coaty, co-owner of the Jem Theatre.

Dana and Amber Coaty

Amber and her husband Dana have owned the theater for four years. However, Jem has been around since 1940.

“A movie theater is an experience that has been around since the 30s, since the 40s. Coming in and seeing it with your community, laughing at things with other people laughing. It heightens the experience of the movie,” Amber said.

The small family-owned business has struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic. Amber said the reason they have stayed in business is because of the community.

“People would come and just donate money. And say, ‘we want you to stay open. Here’s some money. We love you guys. We don’t you to close,’” Amber said.

They also allowed moviegoers to stream movies from the comfort of customer’s cars.

“We’ve also been able to do private showing for family rentals,” Amber said.

People could also stop in for a theater favorite.

“To buy popcorn because they were open and to help a locally owned business,” said Kris Torgerson, a Jem customer.

Now, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The owners hope the reopening will be the last.

“We’re crossing fingers that this opening will stick and that we will stay open this time and not have to be shut down again,” Amber said.

That statement is something Torgerson agrees with.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a movie. So it will be nice to come back in to watch movies and have popcorn and treats,” she said.

On Jan. 15 The Jem Theatre will reopen for its first public showing of 2021. It will be playing Wonder Woman 1984.

KaMaria Braye

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