Baltimore Startup Is Bringing The Video Store Back
Over the last 5 or so years theres been a renaissance of sorts with vinyl record shops. Most of the proprietors of these local shops aren’t trying to be the next Wiz, Kemp Mill or Sam Goody, they’re record collectors sharing their love of vinyl with the world, or at least their neighborhood. For many it’s a labor of love deep rooted in a connection to vinyl. The rise of the vinyl record shop has been chronicled in major newspapers like The Chicago Tribune. So why shouldn’t the video store make a comeback as well.
There’s a few straggling video rental stores still out there. Those folks are still catering to people looking for the latest releases and haven’t switched to a streaming service. Heck you can still rent dvd’s, blue rays and video games from Netflix and your local Red Box. But that’s not why a group of seven took to Kickstarter to launch a video store in Baltimore.
Dave Barresi, Scott Braid, Kevin Coelho, Liz Donadio, Greg Golinski, Eric Allen Hatch, and Joe Tropea are a group of friends from Baltimore, all tied with the Baltimore film community. Hatch is the Director of Programming at the Maryland Film Festival (as an aside he was the Editor in Chief of my HS newspaper), Braid is the Associate Director there. The other five is a true mix of cinephiles with backgrounds in film, theater and the arts. The group calls themselves the Baltimore Video Collective and have donated countless hours to curating a collection of thousands of DVDs, Blue Rays and yes, even VHS tapes.
The Baltimore Video Collective surpassed their $30,000 goal on Kickstarter and now they’re ready to move to the next stage of opening the business. Their store will be housed in the building on North Howard Street that once housed Reptilian Records. The central location was key to their video store goals. The group wants the video store to be a destination for those in Baltimore’s surrounding areas. They’re also running the store as a non-profit, they want to pay their employees a livable wage and dump the profits back into spreading the word about film and adding to the expansive collection.
The idea behind Beyond Video isn’t to be the place where you can rent the newest installment of Cars, it’s about film itself. While there are thousands and thousands of titles available on Netflix, some of the more artsy films can never be found on the site. Also, local films may not make it onto Netflix and Baltimore is a city rich in it’s film heritage from the likes of directors like John Waters and even Barry Levinson.
Waters, who’s known for cult classics like Hairspray and Pecker said; “I can’t wait to rent at Beyond Video. I’m sure the selection will be well curated, full of surprises, intelligent AND trashy — plus I hope they have a porno section. And I promise to rewind,”
The collection will be sure to impress. Beyond Video won’t be the kind of store you just run into to get a movie real quick, leave that to the Redbox.
“We will be deeply stocked with new releases; classics; silents; documentaries; LGBTQ titles; cult and underground films; tv series; and world cinema of every genre, region, and era. Our collection will include each and every in-print title from The Criterion Collection, and will be heavily stocked with titles from exciting labels such as Kino, Cinema Guild, Strand, Scream Factory, IFC, Blue Underground, Oscilloscope, Factory 25, Olive, New Yorker, and Facets (to name just a few). Our collection will consist primarily of DVDs, with a smaller curated selection of blu-rays. We will grow the blu-ray collection in direct proportion to community response.” the collective said on their Kickstarter page.
One of the biggest benefits to the BVC and the Beyond Video store is the backgrounds of the collective. They’re extremely knowledgable about everything movies, film and video. When you walk into Beyond Video you won’t have to worry about running into an employee sitting behind a counter Snapchatting his or her friends. You’ll find true movie buffs that would love to talk movies and film with you.
Although they’ve reached their goal and at press time there is only a few hours left in the campaign, check out their Kickstarter page to learn more.