After seven decades, the Clova Theatre in Cloverdale closed its doors for good this weekend.
The cinema is making way for a church group that has been renting the building on Sundays.
“They bought the building,” says theatre employee Samantha LeDrew. “They just do not feel that what they are planning to do will be able to work well with us. So unfortunately, we have to shut our doors.”
LeDrew has been with the theatre for five years, and says the news of the sale was devastating.
“It is not about working with the movies, it is more about the fact that these people are my family and this is my home and this is where I am the happiest,” she says.
The theatre is the only one left in Cloverdale, and dates all the way back to 1947. The current owner has owned the building for the last 18 years.
There is no clear date for when the theatre will be closing, but LeDrew says it will happen toward the end of the summer when they can’t buy film anymore.
With movie makers now going strictly digital, there is no room for film and theatres that still use it.
LeDrew says it would have taken them a digital upgrade and a new sound system to keep up with the times – a cost of anywhere between $70,000 and $100,000.
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She says she will miss the feel and the sound of an old-school film projector, but beyond that – a sense of family and community that the theatre has built throughout the years.
“We call ourselves Clo-family. And it is not just for employees, it is our customers. They are not just our customers, they are our friends. We talk to them, we get to know them. They bring their bowls from home and we put popcorn in them.”
For the last showing today, the theatre screened the Humphrey Bogart movie, “Dead Reckoning,” — the same movie that ran at the theatre 67 years ago.
One of the theatre’s original projectors is being donated – one to the Surrey Museum, and the other will be sold to help re-pay the theatre’s debt – which is over $20,000.
– with files from Julia Foy