Curbside theater concessions a hit in Cloquet

Premiere Theater will sell concessions again Friday, May 1, and Saturday, May 2.

Maddie Dostal picks up bags of popcorn to deliver to a curbside customer Friday, April 24, at Premiere Theater in Cloquet. The teen workers keep track of customers and orders on a list at the table. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal

Customers eager to purchase popcorn and other concessions began lining up in front of Premiere Theater in Cloquet around 1:30 p.m. on Friday, April 24, said owner Rick Stowell.

Stowell opened the theater at 2 p.m. to sell the treats curbside. The theater had been closed for the first time in 26 years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

The staff kept busy as they served about 300 customers in three hours, and Stowell said they sold more than 900 items.

The event was such a success that Stowell said he plans to do it again Friday, May 1 and Saturday, May 2.

“This is not to make money for the theater,” Stowell said. “Any profit made by the theater will be returned to the staff.”


People could walk in, call or email their orders. Students wearing gloves and masks helped prepare the treats and deliver them to customers.

Shar Poppe, of Cloquet, parked her vehicle and walked to the theater to order teenage movie passes and popcorn. She said she regularly purchases passes as gifts.

“The popcorn is for me,” Poppe said. “I’m going home and eating it.”

Stowell said the students who worked had their temperatures checked before they started to work and were asked questions from the Minnesota Department of Health, as well.

None of the teenagers who worked are eligible for unemployment, he said. .

“We paid them their regular wage plus a bonus of $2 per hour,” Stowell said. “They made a lot of money on tips, unusual for a theater.”

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