Rogers Cinema: Young, but determined
By Kris Leonhardt
Continued from previous week
Previous owners, Bette and Anne Adler, were on board for a young Paul Rogers to purchase their family’s theater business, and so was Rogers’ family; but, the struggle to obtain the financing that resulted only did more to enhance his determination.
“Well, so I was 23 at that time,” recalled Rogers. “It took me over a year to get the financing to do it.
“It was not easy; every bank in Marshfield turned me down at the start. But I was determined, and I went to Wausau to First Wisconsin… that was the biggest bank in the state at the time. Anyway, they agreed to give me the loan and my parents at that time, put their modest house up for collateral; and then, we were still a little short and the Adler girls agreed to a second mortgage for five years.
“I believe it was about a quarter million dollars for the theater in 1972. And that was a lot of money.
“The problem we had is theaters, even today, are not bought and sold very often. And the bank was like, ‘I don’t know what this thing is worth. It’s never sold’ and stuff like that. I said ‘there’s a reason for that.’”
Rogers said that when Citizens National Bank in Marshfield found out that he was going to get a loan in Wausau, they changed their minds.
“They did not want first Wisconsin coming into Marshfield and making loans to businesses,” Rogers recalled.
“It all started in 1971. And by April of 1972, we had agreed on everything.”
Rogers then “twinned” the theater at 419 South Central Avenue in Marshfield, and named it Rogers Cinema I and II.
His purchase meant splitting off the Adlers’ remaining theaters in Marshfield and Waupaca.
“(I thought) that was just a bridge too far at that time for me,“ Rogers said about the Waupaca business.
He then talked the manager in Waupaca into buying that theater.
“The deal was both theaters had to close at the same time, same day, you know. In other words, they were not going to liquidate; the Adler girls did not want to sell Marshfield and keep Waupaca,” Rogers explained.
After 15 years of ownership, the Waupaca manager sold the theater to another individual. When that owner passed away, the Adler sisters feared what would become of the theater named for their mother, Rosa. Rogers’ dedication to the Adlers would ensure that that theater would someday return to the fold.
Continued next week