One of the last video rental stores in British Columbia announced it plans to close its doors this summer.
Black Dog Video, an East Vancouver staple, has survived the Blockbuster video channel by 11 years, but owner Darren Gay says video rentals are no match for the myriad of streaming services to which moviegoers have access these days.
“It was the streaming services that killed us,” he said On the coast host Gloria Macarenko. “The explosion of them over the past two years is just one more nail in the coffin every time another starts.”
Rent and other costs have gone up, while a rental company doesn’t have the luxury of raising sale prices, forcing Gay to make the difficult decision to pack it up.
Black Dog video has been in business for 26 years, 16 of which the store is located on Commercial Drive. During this time, Gay and his employees forged friendships with clients and curated a collection of 17,000 films for serious moviegoers.
“It’s easy to just turn on your streaming services. I like to call it the convenience of mediocrity, because that’s essentially what streaming services are all about,” Gay said.
“It’s going to be sad when we’re all gone because…the availability of these amazing movies is going to disappear. You won’t find most things on streaming services.”
Now Gay is responsible for selling thousands of films, which he says has been devastating in itself.
“It’s hard because I spend my days here and I love being around these movies.”
He plans to start selling the collection on May 1.
After owning and running a small business for so long, Gay isn’t sure what’s next for him.
“I’m too young to retire, really, and I’m too old to find meaningful employment. I haven’t had to look for a job in almost 30 years, and I don’t know how to do that anymore.”
He says what he will miss most about the time he spends renting movies to Vancouverites will be the people.
“Clients I’ve met and befriended, I’m just going to miss that daily interaction. I know so many people, you know, who take their first names and consider them friends, and so it’s going to be really difficult.”