The JEM Theater

Interview with Amber Coty

The JEM Theater

Tiana Pickett-Hanson, Staff Writer

I have always loved movies, and when it comes to movies in our small town of Harmony, there truly is a hidden JEM—the JEM theater, that is. I sat down with the owner of the JEM theater Amber Coty to see what it’s like to own a movie theater in a small town. We also discussed her love for movies and her advice to someone wanting to own a movie theater themselves.


Q: What’s it like owning a movie theater in the era of streaming?
Hard, it’s a lot of fun, but also a lot of work.


Q: Why did you choose to own a movie theater?
I’ve always loved movies, and when my husband and I were younger we would always go to movies. It was an inexpensive way to spend time together.


Q: Did you know the previous owners?
Yes I did know them—“big shoes to fill.”


Q: What made you want to do movies in the park?
Nostalgia, and it was a good way to keep showing movies and make money during covid. But mostly nostalgia, we also like to keep showing old movies.


Q: When are movies most popular?
Summer, October, and November. It’s like a rollercoaster, with months going on the movie business fluctuates. Though this year has been a sort of anomaly, with many movies coming out during the February and March time. Also summer is usually when big blockbuster movies will come out. Though the peak time for movies and movie theaters was the 90’s.


Q: Why should people come watch movies here at the JEM?
Prices are good, and it’s the same quality as a big time theater. Though they don’t have a bunch of comfy seats like the big theater, they do have 14 comfy seats and the rest are just regular old fashion. You can also see a friendly face every time you come in, and you get to have real human interaction.


Q: What’s it like owning a business in Harmony, MN?
It’s a lot of fun, but hard. Because when you live in a small town people tend to want to go somewhere else for things, or want to get out of town. But it’s also really fun and easy because the business owners here get along very well, and it’s a really good community that we have here.


Q: Does your family like working at and owning a movie theater?
Yeah, we all have a love for movies. Although my kids may say they don’t like it, because they’re teenagers, but I know they do.


Q: Why do you think people should go to a theater rather than stream at home?
Nothing can beat the movie theater experience in my opinion, and it’s just fun to get out of the house, it’s easy, cheap, and a good time.


Q: Do you have any advice for someone wanting to own or start a movie theater?
If you want to start a theater you need to have a love for what you’re doing and have a love for movies. You may also “need a rich uncle” because being in the movie theater business takes a lot of money.


Overall, I would like to thank Amber Coty for agreeing to do this interview with me, and giving me an insight to her business. I would also like to encourage people to go watch a movie at a theater, and just enjoy the movie theater experience.