Converting a portion of the former Mars grocery store has proven more of a challenge than expected, but Robert Weinholt Sr. says the Horizon Cinemas movie theater in Aberdeen is on track to open by mid-January.
Weinholt and his sons have been working since May to open an eight-screen theater — with recliners, a bar and food choices — in the Aberdeen Marketplace shopping center, at the intersection of Route 22 and Beards Hill Road.
“We ran into problems, which caused some delays, but they have been resolved and the new opening date is Jan. 17,” Weinholt told members of the Aberdeen City Council at their Dec. 9 meeting.
City Manager Randy Roberton said he was in the theater recently and “caught Mr. Weinholt on a ladder hanging soundproof curtains.”
“He was so enthused showing this place off,” Robertson said. “It was extraordinary to see somebody taking so much pride in bringing something back that will have such a big impact on the community.”
Weinholt and his family own several movie theaters, including Horizon Cinemas in Fallston.
In 1986, Weinholt built and opened Beards Hill Theater in the Aberdeen shopping center on the north side of Route 22. The theater closed in 1997 because of competition from the new Regal Cinemas in Abingdon.
He intends to have a special grand opening that will benefit a charity once the new Aberdeen cinema is up and running.
“All I can say is we’re working hard, moving as quick as we can — nobody wants it more than I do,” Weinholt said. “I don’t think anybody in this room, when they get there, will be disappointed.”
He said he enjoys showing off what’s been done already, especially when he’s been so involved in the project.
“It’s a lot of work but it’s a lot of fun,” Weinholt said. “There’s instant gratification when you take a building and convert it to something it wasn’t. It’s really neat.”