Kaarina Stotts is no stranger to the ins and outs of running a business. The daughter of entrepreneurs, she started learning and working at a young age.
After taking over her parents’ business and owning an antique shop, Kaarina was well prepared when she decided to buy the Neptune Theater in 2018.
Kaarina renovated the two-screen cinema, refreshing the space with bright colors and Disney-themed murals. The Neptune has all the comforts of a movie night at home, with couches to sink into and warm blankets for extra coziness. With the added bonus of a fun, friendly atmosphere and delicious snacks.
We asked Kaarina to tell us about her experience running the theatre. Here’s what she shared with us:
Why did you choose to start a business in Pacific County?
My family started here back before I was born, so I grew up running businesses in Pacific County.
I grew up/lived in Art’s Market Seafood and Deli until I was 13 when my parents decided to tear it down and build Pioneer Market and Pioneer Fuel. I’ve been working since I could walk, starting with pricing and stocking shelves then running the cash register at eight years old. I worked there with family and friends until I sold the business in 2018, after my Dad’s passing.
I’ve also owned Shipwreck Cove Antiques in Chinook and am the current owner of The Tinker Towne Mall in Long Beach, along with the theatre.
I came to own the theatre because we thought it would be a good fit for our family. And I needed to make some good tax decisions since I was selling Pioneer Market and Pioneer Fuel.
What was your mission when you started your business?
The first thing we did was lower the prices to make it more affordable for our small community.
I wanted to create a safe, inviting, and fun place for all ages.
How did you come up with the name for your business?
Neptune Theater, aka Neptune Twin Theaters, was already established. We changed it to Neptune Theatre for licensing but kept the name that everybody knew.
Had it been a new business, I would’ve named it Masterpiece Theatre, after a show that I used to watch with my grandma when I was a child.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
There have been many specific moments that hit your heart. Every day has been satisfying as we have the best patrons. They’ve become a part of us.
What is unique about your business?
We don’t follow what everybody else does. We go with the beat of our own drum, doing whatever makes us and the people around us happy.
Our staff is friendly and amazing and makes everyone feel welcome. And I can’t tell you how many friends we’ve all made in our customers.
We also have couches, ottomans, and warm blankets for the ultimate comfort. And you can’t forget about our unique look: bright colors, beautiful sconces, and Disney scenes.
If you had a piece of advice to offer someone starting a business in Pacific County, what would it be?
The best advice I can give is to hit social media hard to spread the word that you’re there. And remind people that you’re out there by being consistent.
Even during our COVID lockdown, I did fun, daily posts asking people what their favorite movie was in a particular genre or their favorite actor, etc. So many people told me they looked forward to that every morning. Don’t get me wrong, half of them don’t even come to the theatre, but it helps create connection nonetheless.
For any aspiring business owner in Pacific County, here are a few key takeaways from Kaarina’s experience:
- Provide an affordable activity for people in your community to enjoy.
- Do what makes you and your patrons happy.
- Establish and maintain a strong social media presence. Let people know you’re there, and foster connection on the platform.