COVID took away many local businesses with sentimental value and history within the communities of Northeast Michigan. One local couple decided to put their foot down to save the Lake Theatre in Oscoda. Teresa Edelman, Co-Owner of the Lake Theatre, said, “I have resorts in Oscoda, and the theatre was for sale for a while, and you know wasn’t really looking to purchase a movie theatre, but we didn’t want to lose the theatre and we were trying to save it from extinction.” She said, “I talked to my husband and said do you want to buy the theatre? It was well, let’s talk about this later, and we just kept circling back and finally said okay, we’re gonna do this, because we just didn’t want to see another empty building and we didn’t wanna lose the theatre for the community.”
The Lake Theatre has been a part of the Oscoda community since 1948, and was owned and operated by the same person for 52 years before the Edelman’s made the decision to go into the movie theatre business. Jim Edelman, the other Co-Owner of the Lake Theatre, said “I’m a big fan of old houses, and you know I always look at it as, you never own an old house. You’re a caretaker of that structure until the next person comes along and hopefully takes it to another step in the preservation. I think you know we’re definitely big fans of work with whatcha got.” He said, “I think, you know, this is a theatre that was built in 1948. So it’s not a fancy theatre. You know, we’re not looking to fancify it up, but we definitely want to bring it back to what it was. We want to bring back the neon on the outside. It is a different business now, and that’s what we’re just having a ball with.”
The biggest deal was making sure that the community felt involved in the revival of the Lake Theatre, and that the community’s opinions were used to make the theatre better. Teresa Edelman said, “Yeah, definitely a community theatre was what we had in mind, and working with the community, we exit interview a lot. What would you like to see here? What do you guys have?” She said, “Just getting engaged in those conversations, you know, you find out a lot, and reaching out to various groups, trying to bring some things, some art, and culture. So they have the opportunity to be entertained and get an experience from coming to the Lake Theatre.