How Portland Residents Are Trying To Save One Epic Video Rental Store

Be Kind Rewind video store

Thanks to the success of DVD by mail services and online streaming, the video store is already largely a thing of the past. However, the city of Portland, Oregon is trying to save one such establishment. Movie Madness has been in business for 30 years, but now the store is very much in danger of closing down. The man who has run the store since 1991 is getting ready to retire, but rather than sell off the store's massive inventory, he's worked out a deal to sell the store to a local movie theater. Now, they just need to raise the funds via Kickstarter.

Mike Clark, who founded Movie Madness, has decided to retire, but he doesn't want to see the store close. This led him to talks with Portland's Hollywood Theater, a non-profit theater. Clark has agreed to sell the store to the theater for $250,000, which is about half what the store recently appraised for, but now the Hollywood Theater needs to come up with a quarter million dollars. In order to raise the money, the Hollywood Theater has begun a Kickstarter campaign. It's also hosting a series of movie screenings specifically to help raise funds.

To be clear, Movie Madness isn't just your average Blockbuster Video. It has an inventory of over 80,000 DVDs, which, as Willamette Week points out, is more movies than Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu combined. With a list of titles that large, the store has built up a strong cult following of fans in the Portland, OR area, as many of the titles are exceedingly rare. This is likely what has kept the store going so long.

While video stores are largely on their way out, the business model hasn't faded away entirely. A little over a year ago I was in Alaska and actually drove past an honest to god Blockbuster Video store. Apparently, there are actually several that have survived in the state. Independent video stores also dot the country, though Movie Madness may put all of their selections to shame.

At this point, it looks like the Hollywood Theater's attempt to purchase Movie Madness is going pretty well. As of this writing, the Kickstarter campaign has earned $143,000 of the desired $250,000 and it still has 29 days to go to reach its goal. Rewards for contributing include a limited period of free rentals at the store as well as private screenings at the Hollywood Theater.

It's great to see the support for a business like this. If only to keep a movie collection this large it's worth it to keep this store in business. With 80,000 titles there's no excuse for not finding something to watch. Though, having to deal with late fees again is a scary thought.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.