PLATTSBURGH - The screens are up, the seats are in position and the doors are now open at Cumberland 12 Cinemas.
The new 12-screen theater megaplex on State Route 9 held a private grand opening Dec. 18, which included guests such as town and county officials, members of the media and other local businesses.
Peter W. Edelmann, president of EuroWest Companies, Essex, Vt., the firm which owns the megaplex, said the soft opening was a perfect opportunity to test the waters for the new facility, which opened its doors to the general public the following day.
"The general reaction and the one that I enjoyed hearing was it is hard to believe this finally is happening in Plattsburgh," said Edelmann. "We also received many 'thank-yous' for providing extra wide and comfortable seats. Young and old alike, gave very positive comments."
The official opening weekend was slower than expected, though Edelmann attributed that to the inclement weather that hit the area. He added the business has been selling strong advance sales and gift certificates, however.
Plattsburgh Town Supervisor Bernard C. Bassett, who was in attendance for the advanced opening, said he was impressed with the overall facility and its ability to attract more people to the town.
"It does bring more money into the economy and it's another reason for our friends in Vermont and Canada to come to this area to be entertained," said Bassett.
The development has also meant new full- and part-time jobs for approximately 70 people, said Bassett, which is imperative at a time when other businesses are cutting back their workforces. It's Bassett's hope other employers will follow EuroWest's lead to expand businesses and services within the town.
"As the saying goes, "A rising tide raises all ships.' People will see something good happening and they'll want to be a part of it," said Bassett. "It's just another good example that we're alive in the town of Plattsburgh."
Edelmann said he cannot thank town officials and staff enough for "providing an atmosphere that allowed for continued permitting and opening progress." He further thanked Conroy and Conroy Contractors, who were hired to perform the work at the site.
Cumberland 12 is merely the beginning of the renovation of the former North Country Shopping Center plaza, said Edelmann. The existing shopping center building will eventually be demolished, with 600,000-square-feet of commercial buildings expected to take its place.
"We still have a lot of work to do for further development and look forward to working on our small role in helping create jobs and bring a new diversity of entertainment, dining and retail options to Plattsburgh," said Edelmann.
For more information about Cumberland Cinemas, visit their Web site at www.cumberland12.com or call their movie line at 324-3777.