Loading up the car for an outdoor movie theater experience won't be limited to special events this summer.
The Gull Drive-in will be offering the outdoor movie experience with high-tech improvements and full concessions beginning the three-day Memorial Day weekend and then continuing after a short break on June 13 with movies on Fridays and Saturdays through the summer, except for the July Fourth weekend. Double features, cheese curds and corn dogs are just part of the offerings.
Terry Iverson, owner of Hastings-based Twilight Zone Outdoor Cinema, said he is leasing the Gull Drive-in on Highway 371 from owner Babe Winkelman.
Iverson said he plans to run movies that are six months to 30 years old, classic movies and blockbuster hits. The early show on Saturday, which will probably start about 9 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. or when it's dark enough, will be a family-friendly movie suitable for smaller children. The second feature, starting about 11 p.m., may be a rated PG 13 or R.
Cost will be $5 per person. Children 5 and younger will be free.
Iverson said the outdoor cinema company, which started last year, is a subsidiary of DVD Memories. The company's main business uses outdoor inflatable movie screens and travels around the country setting up screens, which are used for theaters and special events, resorts and even private backyard parties.
A boat-in movie with an inflatable screen on a big barge is being used for a planned Lake Minnetonka movie showing, Iverson said. The inflatable screens and outdoor movie viewing are getting more popular and new drive-ins are being constructed in California and Texas, Iverson said.
With that activity, Iverson said it was a natural idea to make use of the former Gull Drive-in here with its existing screen. The days of attaching speakers to vehicles windows - for those old enough to remember active drive-in theaters - are gone. Instead, moviegoers turn their FM stations to a prescribed point on the dial for the audio. And Iverson said the movie image is high definition, meaning the picture quality will rival that of indoor movie houses.
Last year, the Gull Drive-in was used for a couple of days and attendance was reported to be strong. If the Gull Drive-in didn't work as a site, Iverson said the company was so interested in the Brainerd market it was considering the Crow Wing County Fairgrounds as a second option.
Iverson said they plan to make the movie weekends events.
"It's just nice," he said, "because the kids don't have to be quiet. They can talk to each other. They can move around. The parents can afford to bring the kids."
Twilight Zone Outdoor Cinema will be hiring part-time workers. Those interested may find out more by e-mailing email@example.com.
Ascensus, formerly BISYS, reports the company is researching available space in the Brainerd area and the J.C. Penney site at the East Brainerd Mall, which will be vacated when J.C. Penney Co. Inc. makes its move to Baxter, is one alternative among others being considered. A decision may be made by summer's end. Ascensus is running at 95 percent capacity and is looking into options as it evaluates space needs. The company reports its intent is to remain in Brainerd-Baxter.
Evergreens Up North, a home decor and gift shop, opened in Crosby on West Main Street in the old North Country Realty building. The business features log and primitive furniture. Owners are a mother and daughter team in Paulette Abear and Bobbie Kovatovich. The two talked about starting their own store for years. The store includes figurines, greenery with swags and garland, candles, wild rice and Minnesota jellies, coffee from Ely, lamps, embroidered towels and paintings by area artists. Evergreens Up North plans to be open year-round.
Reeds Mille Lacs Outpost opened last week along U.S. 169 in Onamia. Kevin Zismer, Reeds store manager in Walker, said the store - with 5,000 square feet of retail space - is called an outpost as it has a fishing focus with a scattering of rain gear, footgear and apparel.
"Pretty much anything you would want for the fishing aspect is in that building," Zismer said.
He said a lot of people from the former Reeds store in Baxter are now working in the outpost in Onamia. Zismer said the decision to open near Mille Lacs Lake came after Reeds looked at how well Leech Lake has done for the Walker store.
"Leech, even through the bad years never failed us," Zismer said. "That's the same thing with Mille Lacs. It was our way of getting a little closer to our customers in Brainerd."
Zismer said a lot of people drive right by the outpost on the way to Brainerd and Mille Lacs Lake is one of the top name lakes in the nation.
KenLor Used Motel Furniture is going out of business and liquidating its Brainerd store on Washington Street and its warehouse stock.
Hair and Beyond on Maple Street in downtown Brainerd expanded, doubling in size. The business offers spa services such as massage and facials along with manicures, pedicures and tanning in addition to the hair styling services.
RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.
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