The Salmar Association is financially sound but nevertheless facing a loss this year.
Longtime general manager Daila Duford has left her Salmar “family,” a job she said has been her life since then-manager Bruce Killick hired her when she was just 14.
Now 36, Duford began in the Salmar Classic concession and took over managing the theatre when she was 18. She left Salmon Arm to attend film school in 2002 but returned to the theatre whenever she could. She became general manager in 2010 and has been fully committed to her job, taking her then babies to work with her, making sure the Salmar kept up with technology, booking films, entering and winning competitions, managing staff and activities, and more.
“This is 100 per cent my life and what you have given me can never be repaid,” Duford told members of the board and attendees at the Nov. 28 AGM. “It really shaped my life to have learned from you.”
But Duford and her husband made the “difficult decision” for her to leave the Salmar in favour of an 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. job, with evenings and weekends free to spend with her family.
In her general manager’s report, Duford noted that attendance and revenue were down from the previous year: revenue by $37,000, primarily because there were fewer blockbuster movies last year, and a drop in attendance by eight per cent at the Salmar Grand and 17 per cent at the Salmar Classic.
Salmar’s top 10 movies between Oct. 1, 2018, and Sept. 30, 2019, in order from one to 10 were: Avengers Endgame, The Lion King, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, Bohemian Rhapsody, Captain Marvel, A Star is Born, Toy Story 4, How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World and Rocketman.
Despite the drop, 100,016 patrons attended the Salmar Grand and 8,779 went to the Salmar Classic.
The Classic is now being operated more as a community venue and was rented by several groups for film and live concerts during the past year. As films are no longer being shown nightly, operating costs have offset the loss. Salmar makes the space available to charitable organizations at reduced rental rates and welcomes more organizations to consider the Classic as a fundraising venue.
Duford said the Salmar is almost entirely waste-free at both theatres, with 98 per cent of material being either compostable or recyclable.
Notable events include the recent purchase of the first laser projector and enhanced Dolby 7.1 sound for one of the theatres in the Grand, with more improvements to come.
Renovations to the Classic are complete and the outside of the Quonset hut, celebrating its 70th anniversary, is restored to its original colours.
In his report, Killick advised the Salmar Association handed out $48,000 in grants last fiscal year, including $25,000 to the City of Salmon Arm to help with the construction of the new picnic shelter at Blackburn Park.