Reimagining an Old Movie Theatre with Adam and Karlyn of Sleepy Eye Coffee Co. and Sleepy Eye Brewing Co

On today’s show, Rebecca chats with Adam and Karlyn Armbruster about starting a meaningful, community-focused business in a small town. Adam and Karlyn are both practicing physicians who yearned for some pizzazz for their small-town main street, and what started as a pipe dream ended up as a full-blown business idea and a plan to renovate the town’s nearly-century-old movie theater.

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Reimagining an Old Movie Theater Episode Summary:

Adam and Karlyn Armbruster of Sleepy Eye Coffee Co. and Sleepy Eye Brewing Co. share the story of starting the coffee shop and brewery in the town’s old movie theater, and all of the bits and pieces that make it such a meaningful addition to their small town.

About Adam and Karlyn Armbruster

Adam and Karlyn each grew up in small Minnesota towns and met at the University of Minnesota, Duluth while in medical school.  They married in 2009 and residency training took them to Wichita, Kansas.  After completing residency, they signed on to return to Adam’s home town of Sleepy Eye, MN in 2012 as Family Practice physicians providing broad-spectrum primary care to the town of 3500.

Together they enjoyed small-town life with their three children but missed the variety of restaurants and entertainment available in larger cities.  Their interest in travel, food, wine, beer, and small downtowns pushed them to purchase Sleepy Eye’s long-shuttered Pix Theater building in 2017 with plans to renovate it into a coffee shop and brewery.  

Opening in late 2019, the completely renovated Pix Theater houses the Sleepy Eye Coffee Company and Sleepy Eye Brewing Company and has quickly become a social hub for the small town.

In this episode, we tackle…

How can you take a passion that’s not your day job and turn it into a business?
Just give it a try. It can be scary, but sometimes you just have to listen to your heart and take the leap. When you share your passion with others, even skeptics might see the amazing potential.

How can a small-town business involve the community?
Adam and Karlyn did not take this project on alone. They involved friends and the whole community in the excitement and renovation of the movie theater, and that ownership and passion helped it become a community hub that is so much more than just a coffee shop or brewery. 

Listen to this episode to hear more about:

  • How to have a small business while also having a full-time job
  • How your hobbies can become a business and serve your community
  • How we can encourage folks to come back to our small towns
  • Why small towns can be the best places to start a small business and a great place to support small businesses 
  • How involving the community in a project like this can make it so much more meaningful than just the business itself.

Connect with Sleepy Eye Coffee Co.

Instagram: @sleepyeyecoffee

Connect with Sleepy Eye Brewing Co.
Instagram: @sleepyeyebrewing