H-SANTA MARIA

Nov 15, 2013 7:02 PM by April Hansen, KSBY

New theatre brings in jobs and high hopes for Town Center Mall

In just two days, the Santa Maria Town Center Mall's long-awaited new movie theater opens its doors and dozens of people start new jobs.

More than 100 positions have been filled at Edwards Cinemas' 14-screen, state-of-the-art theater.

Mall spokesperson Amber Lease says that number does not include all the extra security and maintenance crews the mall has hired. On top of those positions, the Red Robin restaurant next door hired about 40 additional staff members.

Many shop owners in the mall are also busy prepping for opening night.

"We can't wait to have a lot of people coming through here again," said Sheila Gugi, Central City Candy Shop.

Central City Candy Shop is stocking up because, what's a movie without some treats?

"They are very excited. They like the new changes. They are thrilled to have something new happening here," said Gugi.

Mall officials expect all 2,800 seats to be filled opening night.

"There's a lot of buzz out there. A lot of excitement," said mall spokesperson Amber Lease.

The $8.2 million project has been on the minds of mall officials for years.

"It's a vision that is finally here. To think a year ago we were pulling down a building and now I am standing inside a new facility," said Lease.

Lease says the theatre is preparing for at least 7,000 people to buy tickets in the first three days.

"Movies start at about 11 a.m. and end at 11 p.m., so it's a lot of foot traffic to move through one facility," said Lease.

A project this large needs a lot of help. Lease says it has created opportunities for Central Coast job seekers.

"As far as the theatre itself, it has come across the board on the Central Coast. I don't know how far that spans, but there are a lot of new job opportunities within the company," said Lease.

Back at Central City Candy Shop, Gugi says opening night will be a big day for candy lovers and the mall.

"I think we have a really bright future," said Gugi.

The official opening night is on November 21st, but you can get a sneak peak this weekend and help out some local charities. From Sunday through Tuesday you can see a movie, get popcorn and a soda for $2 each. The money raised will go to a different charity each day.

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