CLEAR LAKE | For the first time in 40 years, new faces are running the show at the Lake Theater in Clear Lake.
Clear Lake resident Aaron Donaldson and Erin Schieffer, of Des Moines, bought the downtown Clear Lake theater from the Sherman family.
Donaldson, who visited the theater as a child, and Schieffer began running the theater 10 days ago during the showing of "Miracles From Heaven."
"The community's been very welcoming," said Schieffer.
"Everybody's been wishing us luck, wanting to see us do well," he said.
Before taking the reins, Donaldson and Schieffer shadowed former owner Betty Sherman and her sons, Bob and John, for almost two months.
The Shermans have owned the theater since the 1970s when Bob Sherman, then working the projector, came home and told his parents it was for sale.
Betty Sherman, in particular, was an integral part of the theater.
"(Patrons) miss seeing Betty behind the counter," Schieffer said.
"Yes, Betty was a fixture. You could count on that you could come up here and Betty would be sitting here and you could get your ticket from her," Donaldson said. "She's not only seen kids grow up, she's seen their kids grow up."
The people were the best part of the job, said Betty Sherman, 84.
"The theater's been an awful lot of fun and we just met wonderful, wonderful people," said Sherman, who was 3 years old when she attended her first showing at the Lake Theater. "I don't know that we've ever had anybody that we wouldn't have been very happy to have come back."
The Shermans had interest from potential buyers who wanted to close the theater and putting a new business in its place, they were glad to find someone who wanted to keep the theater going.
"Our main concern was whoever bought it was going to keep it as a theater," Bob Sherman said.
Tackling theater ownership has been a new challenge for Donaldson and Schieffer, but one they're enthusiastic about taking on.
"(It's) overwhelming, but exciting," he said.