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Thursday, May 6

The Times they are a Changin... are Video stores a thing of the past?

I tell you what I miss… I miss mom and pop video stores. They are all too quickly becoming a thing of the past.

My favorite video store was a place called Video Depot that was located just around the corner from my house. It was run by two brothers (identical twins, actually) who knew most of their customers by name. They rented VHS and DVD movies as well as video games. They went out of business last year and I tell you, it was heartbreaking to see it go. I miss walking in to rent videos or check out the new releases and being greeted with “Hey, Larry what’s new?” from one or both of them, or their dog running out from behind the counter to greet customers, or seeing other people I knew renting videos there. It was a real community place and I miss it.

But I understand the decision. They just couldn’t compete with Netflix, Hollywood Video, Blockbuster and Redbox. The Hollywood Video in Hendersonville has become the latest casualty. They are closing shop this month, and I wonder if perhaps Blockbuster isn’t far behind it. We still have Redbox’s around town, but I really dislike those dispenser style rental kiosks. They are so impersonal, and waiting in line behind someone indecisive at one of those things is excruciating.

Fortunately there is still one other video rental place in town called Captain Video. It is part of a local chain of stores, but it still has that independent feel to it. In addition to renting videos they also have tanning beds. Yep, you read right, tanning beds. That’s a throwback to the 80’s, ain’t it? Who uses tanning beds nowadays? Apparently plenty of people in Hendersonville, TN as there always seem to be more people getting microwave tans than movies when I’m there. Nowadays I rent all my videos from Captain Video to help support them. Their older movies are just one dollar each for a 5-day rental. Not bad, plus their selection is better than Redbox and I don’t have to wait for my movie in the mail like you do with Netflix. Over the past year they dumped all their VHS tapes and only carry DVDs now, which is fine, but I sure would like to stumble on a place that had VHS tapes for rent, just for the nostalgia factor if nothing else.

Over the next few years we may just see the complete demise of video rental stores and that’s a shame. I think we may even see the end of physical movie copies, with everything turning digital. Instead of buying DVDs in cases we’ll buy downloads onto hard drives. I guess that’s the nature of technology, it’s ever-changing, but I still hate to see the mom and pop shops close.


  1. As someone who spent the greater part of the '90s working in mom and pop video chains, it's a real heartbreaker to see the industry evaporate. Those stores were special places to work in and rent from. They fostered a sense of community and a passion for movies that renting from a Redbox or through the mail will never replace.

  2. Jeff I so agree. I keep hoping they'll come back in vogue but I'm afraid they're a dying breed

  3. Sorry to rain on this pity parade, but they are not a dying breed-at least not in Toronto and many other North American cities. There are a few niche brick and mortar stores in my residence of Toronto, and at last count, all of them are thriving, the most notable of this type being Suspect Video (www.suspectvideo.com) and Queen Video (sorry, no website for this store as of yet.) There are probably similar stores in the city where you live-get off of your asses and go check them out, and see what they have to rent. And the ethnic video store isn't going under either.

  4. Hi Lionel

    I tell you what, Lionel, if you want to come visit Hendersonville, TN where I live I will be happy to go drive around and show you the lack of mom and pop video stores in this town. As I stated in my post, we're down to one and it's part of a small chain. My favorite went out of business last year.

    Matter of fact, while you're here we'll drive down to Nashville and I'll show you the dearth of mom and pop shops there, too.

    It definitely is NOT a case of just getting off my ass... they are disappearing in this area quickly. If they are thriving there in Toronto, GREAT! I wish that were the case here. It definitely isn't a "pity-parade", but a sad fact here.

    Thanks for the email though.