The new owners of Lewistonâs former dollar theater have been unearthing almost fossilized gummy bears and M&Mâs as they begin a renovation of the building into a pet day care.
Exactly how long the expired treats have been hiding in, under and around the seats is not clear.
The 10,000-square-foot theater opened in the late 1960s. It has been vacant since its three screens went dark in March of 2014 before the husband-and-wife team of Jeremy and Wendy Ostermiller acquired it last month.
The Ostermillers bought it from Village Centre Cinemas, which had owned it since 2005, according to the Nez Perce County Assessorâs Office.
The theater closed when Hollywood studios stopped issuing films in 35 mm, and Village Centre Cinemas chose not to invest in a $50,000 to $100,000 upgrade to digital technology, according to Lewiston Tribune archives.
The couple plans to open Fur Family Cinema in early 2019, providing services for dogs and cats such as day care, overnight boarding, training and grooming, Jeremy Ostermiller said.
âWeâll level the floor out and give the outside a face-lift,â he said.
He is a physician assistant at Tri-State Memorial Hospital in Clarkston. She was a veterinarian technician early in her career before becoming a X-ray technician at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, where she worked until a few months ago.
They created the business model based on their own experiences with family pets.
They have two dogs, a Great Dane-mastiff and a Labrador retriever mix. Frequently, they have had difficulty finding places to board their dogs, particularly ones where the animals could play inside or outside during the day as they plan to have at Fur Family Cinema, he said.
Getting their animals groomed has also been challenging, because they canât leave work during the day to drop off their dogs and pick them up. At Fur Family Cinema, pets will be allowed to stay in the day care area before or after services.
The renovation of the site at 3323 10th St. is in its early stages, Ostermiller said.
Last week, Lewiston high school students helped carry out seats that are being donated to the Liberty Theater in downtown Lewiston. The seats were among the few pieces of theater equipment left intact after vandals broke into the building in December, breaking projector wires and bulbs.
âThey cut up the screens and broke the lights,â Ostermiller said.
Walls will be kept where they are and floor drains added during the renovation. The couple plans to convert a parking lot into an outdoor play area.
âMost of the inside will look the same, with some lipstick on it,â Ostermiller said.
They have no immediate plans to show films for animals, but do plan to honor the 1.7 acre propertyâs heritage by keeping the theaterâs marquee and possibly displaying dog movie posters where coming-attraction posters were formerly displayed, Ostermiller said.
âWe want to keep some of the nostalgia and play off of it.â