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Empty concession stands, boxes of supplies and computers filled the lobby of Lake 5 Theater on Monday, Nov. 22, just a few days after Lake 5 closed to the public.

 

 

Late at night on Friday, Nov. 19, Lake 5 theater held a final showing of “Dune” before closing its doors permanently.

“It’s bittersweet, I guess,” owner Shane Martin said. 

Business had been declining for several years, he said, as competitors around the area began upgrading seating and other amenities. 

“I think it was we just got far behind, as far as being able to provide the amenities that this building wasn’t meant for. It kind of seemed like writing on the wall.

“We knew we could only keep it going for so long without investing a ton of money back into the building, and this building probably wasn’t going to  [work], regardless, to upgrade. We were just trying to be the small town theater as long as we could,” Martin said.

Then the pandemic hit, he said, and the financial impact of that was what sealed Lake 5’s fate.

“This was just the nail in the coffin,” he said. 

The lease agreement was set to expire, and Martin said he made the decision to not renew the lease and to close the doors about a couple months prior.

Martin, a St. Paul resident, said he doesn’t know what’s next, but he still owns a theater in Pequot Lakes that’s still operating, so his focus will shift to that theater.

“I’ve appreciated the support from the community, and, you know, seeing our regular customers — on a weekly basis almost, some of them. Some of that is sad, but we’ve been pleased with the support,” Martin said. 

Hannah Davis is the Area Editor at the Forest Lake Times. You can contact her at hannah.davis@ecm-inc.com or (763)233-0709

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