Rogers Cinema: A step into the future
By Kris Leonhardt
Continued from previous week
In 1985, the Rogers Cinema properties were leased to Excellence Theaters of Chicago. While Paul Rogers left the business for a short time, he didn’t stay away long.
Two years later, the company took the Wisconsin Rapids theater back and later got involved with theaters in Janesville and Marquette, MI. The Marquette leases were then traded for Marshfield.
In 1996, Rogers Cinema in Marshfield underwent a large renovation after purchasing two adjacent properties. The facilities were expanded to house seven screens. The following year, Rogers Cinema was named the Marshfield Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s Small Business of the Year.
The company also acquired the Adler family’s beloved “Rosa Theater” in Waupaca.
The manager, who bought it from the Adlers, sold the theater to another individual.
“(I am) thinking that 15 years after he owned it, he sold it to somebody else. And that person died and the Adler sisters were so distraught about the theater down there. They still there had their cottage on the chain, and I shouldn’t say it but they actually hounded me. And finally I said, ‘Alright, I’ll buy that.’ “Then, I bought a building next door and added two more screens on and redeveloped. And we still have it to this day,” recalled Rogers.
Today, Rogers owns the company with John Koran’s son, Scott.
“Today, we are in only Marshfield, Rapids, Point, Waupaca, and Houghton, Michigan, and are all open except for Waupaca is not open yet,” Rogers said.
Like many other businesses in Wisconsin, the Waupaca theater is closed due to lack of staff.
“We do not operate even seven days a week in Marshfield, because we do not have staff. We do not do a nine o’clock show because we do not have staff. We’re like everybody else in the world, I guess.
“God bless Scott and his wife, Jennifer. I mean, I don’t know if I personally could handle it anymore. You know, after my wife died – shortly after— I made Scott CEO, because I was having a hard time after that. I kept the position as president of the theater owners, but I said, ‘You’ve got to be on your feet. You’ve got to be thinking, you can’t be distracted.’ With the type of business we’re in, which is dealing with a lot of people…
“Scott’s been running the show a long time…he is the future and the present.”
“It’s not about me; it’s about our community. It is still locally owned, locally controlled, and that gives me a wonderful feeling. I had multiple chances to sell, but I feel an obligation to the community that it stayed locally owned, if we can.
“I learned that from the Adler girls.”