Grand Forks GEM Theatre Owners Stepping Down after 34 Years


(Image from Facebook: Benefit Concert Following 2018 Flood)

One of Grand Forks' most treasured heritage buildings is welcoming new owners with the community's Maureen and Marius stepping away after 34 years.

The Bounce Radio Newsroom caught up with co-owner Maureen Paquet:

“Man did that go fast…. I couldn’t believe how fast it went; it’s just been great. I have to say there’s’ absolutely no business like show business you know every day I just praise the lord, I come in, I the turn popcorn on, get the butter ready and the oil, I start my juice and that’s it….”

“The GEM has had so many inquiries to have people come in and play and what have you and of course Marius and I, we’ve got to the point where we’re taking quite a bit of time off and being semi-retired…. So this way with the new family and all the enthusiasm and energy they have I’m sure you’ll just really see this place hopping.” adds Paquet

She thanks both the City and the general community for the strong and consistent support, including during the pandemic and post-flood times:

“They would book pod parties and birthday parties…. The community has always looked after us. In the flood they helped with everything from monetary to helping load and install all the seats…. We just have nothing but gratitude and love for this community.”

“The young folks that bought it; they’ve just got so much to look forward to…. Last month we had a sold out comedy group come in…. yesterday we had the Grand Forks choral society on stage…. It’s just more than a movie theatre; it’s an entertainment hub.”

“We’ve done the sound fold, the floors, the seats, we’ve put air conditioning…. new furnace, everything is new, all the equipment is new. We also have a completely furnished suite upstairs so she’s just a pristine little building.”

Another big change over the years is requiring less freight, with new films being sent over the internet these days instead of over mountain passes. The Gem theatre was constructed back in 1913 as the Empress Theatre and played silent movies before being renamed in the 50's. "M and M" took over 30 years after the fact.

An "end of an era" celebration has been planned for closer to July 28th when The Aquiline Family takes over.  Shaun and Kristin Aquiline are relocating their family from Revelstoke.