State Theatre approved for beer and wine sales, West Mall 7 to reapply

Published: May. 20, 2020 at 6:43 PM CDT
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As the State Theatre grows closer to the day of reopening, another part of the plan is in place.

Sioux Falls city council unanimously approved a license, allowing the theatre to serve beer and wine.

Executive director Allison Weiland says this is a great benefit for guests at their evening events.

"It's been a really exciting year for the State Theatre and this is just another thing to keep everyone excited and another thing we can offer patrons when they walk through the door," said Weiland.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Rick Kiley says the location was part of his consideration.

"In downtown Sioux Falls. We do have a number of bars and restaurants in the facility already," said Kiley.

Councilor Christine Erickson commented on the thoroughness of the plan presented by the State Theatre directors present at Tuesday night's meeting.

"I do appreciate the research that you did for other communities what's being done and that's the key to why this is really easy to vote for because the work that you did do," said Erickson.

Beer and wine will be available at the discretion of management.

"We're going to be open every day, seven days a week and we'd like to have them in our evening showings, definitely, but we will be restricting, we won't be serving alcohol at our family film series," said Weiland.

As councilors reviewed the State Theatre's application, a denial of a previous movie theater's application thirteen months ago was discussed. Councilor Pat Starr remembers his vote.

"The west mall theaters, for their liquor license. And I wish I could have that vote back," said Starr.

Kiley is concerned about the differences between the two theatres, including The West mall 7's neighbors.

"It was youth activities, right next door right across the hall," said Kiley.

"Plus, the presentation did not really include a business plan or security plan that I felt comfortable with."

While West Mall 7 theatre owner Todd Frager is preparing to reopen Friday, he hopes to recover from the closure due to the pandemic, and sees that beer and wine sales could bring extra revenue.

"I'm very happy for the State Theater," said Frager, though he believes his application in April of 2019 was thorough.

"I provided the security plan to the police. And they approved it. And I assumed that that should have been good for the City Council. If I need to go beyond that, then they need to know that I wish I would have been made clear of that, and I would have," said Frager.

Customers of the West Mall 7 theater have repeatedly cited visiting larger cities with large theaters selling beer and wine. They've requested Frager does the same.

"But we know we're a family business. I mean, it's important to us to be a family business," said Frager.

As staff plans for additional sanitization and creating social distancing measures for Friday's reopening of the West Mall 7 theater, Frager also plans for the future, including another application for a beer and wine license.