So long, Empire Theatres

So, Sobeys is getting out of the movie business by selling 24 of its Empire Theatres locations to Cineplex.

I started working part-time at the Empire Theatres in Bedford, Nova Scotia in the spring of 1999 for $5.50 an hour. I know this because I still have one of my first paystubs:

Empire Theatres 1999 paystub

I worked at Empire Theatres for three and half years, until the end of 2002. By then, I was making the princely sum of $7.94 per hour:

Empire Theatres 2002 paystub

But what’s most astounding to me is the figure in the lower left hand corner: 4,206.70 hours is a bit more than 175 entire days. That’s just shy of half a year, which seems a little bit unbelievable.

Working at the movie theatre was a great part-time job. It was air conditioned. The free movies were a really nice perk. And it helped me pay for school, one minimum-wage paycheque at a time.

Not only did my time at the theatre help me pay for school, it also helped jump-start my career in radio.

The very first story I ever sold to CBC Radio was a profile of Doug Woodbury, one of the projectionists who worked at Empire Theatres. Here’s the audio from December 2003:

I was sad in 2007 when I heard they were closing down Empire Bedford. And I was sad last week when I heard that Sobeys was getting out of the movie business entirely.

But I’m glad they got into it.