Karl and Ute Etmannski who live in The Summer Village of Parkland Beach during the summer are shown old collectibles and antiques by Kathy Stout at the grand opening of The Empress Theatre Emporium last Saturday.

Empress Theatre Emporium goes back in time to keep Rimbey’s history alive and well

“It is nice when people come in and reminisce. The stories you hear are so interesting.” James Penner

The Empress Theatre Emporium has successfully married the romance of history with the value of good service and a modern day selection of specialty coffees and snacks.

The Emporium opened May 3 and held its grand opening on June 14.

Owned by James and Patti Penner and Boyd and Kathy Stout, the little Main Street business has its doors wide open for customers to stop by for coffee or to simply to browse and check out the antiques and collectibles.

The Emporium is unique as it is housed in a building that was partially built in 1914. That portion of the building was a community hall and dance hall before it became a theatre in the ‘20s.

The theatre has long since been closed. Until recently Rimbey New and Used occupied the space. However, the new owners have uncovered the old screen, and to add to the nostalgic atmosphere, hung a few movie posters on the wall of the coffee shop.

“It is nice when people come in and reminisce,” said James Penner. “The stories you hear are so interesting.”

The old theatre now houses antiques and collectibles, but once a month on jam night, the floor will be available for dancing as Rimbey musicians have an opportunity to showcase their talent.

A jam session was held in conjunction with the grand opening and the event went over well.

“The acoustics in the theatre are good,” said Patti Penner “and it was good to see the dance floor in use again,” added her husband.

A monthly movie night is another feature soon to be offered.

During that evening a nostalgic movie will be shown on the original screen.

The Emporium has a selection of art from local artists and photographs taken by Rimbey photographers tastefully arranged on the walls.

Bob Johnsons’ Diamond Willow woodwork is also displayed.