The Future. A growing nostalgia for physical media and a demand for curated in-person experiences have fueled a successful return of the video store — especially among those who feel finding a movie to watch on streaming platforms to be overwhelming and impersonal. As their footprint expands, we may see the return of “Blockbuster” for a new generation.
Be kind, rewind
“Tapeheads” — people dedicated to the art and technology of the old-school VHS — are winding up for a video store comeback.
- The movie mecca LA has a handful (Vidiots, Be Kind Video, and WHAMMY! Analog Video), but so does Seattle (Scarecrow Video), Portland (Movie Madness), and Baltimore (Beyond Video).
- They’ve been doing great business, catering to audiences who want to recapture the magic of perusing physical clamshell cases at Blockbuster and chat with knowledgeable employees.
- That communal feeling is the bread and butter of the revival, with many of the stores also transforming into event spaces, single-screen cinemas, and movie-themed bars.
A byproduct of the VHS boom is that these stores have also become grassroots film archives — turning them into one of the few places on Earth where audiences can find underappreciated movies that’ve been forgotten in the streaming age. Vidiots, which returned as a nonprofit, has been financing the digitization of its collection of 11,000 rare tapes for posterity.