It was a long time coming for the Grand Reo Theatre in Vanderhoof.
The theatre finally reopened Friday, June 18, after being shuttered for more than six months due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Moviegoers were able to purchase tickets to watch Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark on the big screen.
“I’m feeling great,” said co-owner Laurie Wallace. “Man, it was a long time coming.”
Movie theatres across the province were able to officially welcome patrons once again for the latest blockbuster on June 15 when Step 2 of the B.C. restart plan came into effect.
Before then, Wallace said people would regularly ask her if the theatre was included in previous announcements easing restrictions, and the answer would always be a resounding no.
“Finally, it did apply to us,” she said.
During the closure, the theatre sold candy as well as buttered and flavoured popcorn three days a week to help them with bills that Wallace said never go away.
On their Facebook page Grand Reo Theatre also launched giveaway contests and would showcase other local businesses to spark excitement and promote the ‘shop local’ mantra.
“These are people in town who are doing business, and we have a lot of unique businesses in this town,” Wallace said. “We were trying to get people to open their eyes and go in the doors.”
Wallace has been involved with owning the theatre since 1999.
The Grand Reo will be showcasing older movies until they have the opportunity to book new ones.
“It has been a hardship of what you have to make it continue, but we haven’t given up yet,” Wallace said, noting how many smaller towns have lost their theatres.
“I don’t think we’re going to give up.”