Viva Video, the last movie rental store in the Philadelphia area, will be permanently closed


In the past two decades, the demise of video rental stores has been a long and painful journey, which has made the nostalgic sting even stronger, and it has also increased the appreciation of the few remaining companies holding the torch.

With the closing of Viva Video, the Philadelphia area will bid farewell to the last movie rental paradise this summer! The Last Picture Store has occupied 16 W. Lancaster Ave. in Ardmore since 2012.

The store shared heartfelt information about the decision to close the store on Instagram. The owner, Miguel Gomez, told PhillyVoice that the company has been renting month by month and cannot afford the amount another tenant is willing to pay for the space.

Viva Video’s Instagram post said: “Our operation is unlikely, exciting, difficult, emotional and unique,” ??thanks to customers for creating a sense of community among movie lovers. “For us, this has always been more than just a business. The way so many of you contribute to this wonderful film community has proven that we are more than just a business for you. You keep us alive. . You keep us involved. You make us want to live up to what you deserve. You keep us alive, and we are forever grateful for your contribution, your persistence and your friendship.”

The store will remain open for rent in July, and then sell most of its collection of nearly 20,000 movies-some of which are very rare DVDs and Blu-rays.

“We have a lot of things—some things are worth hundreds of dollars,” Gomez said. “There will be some pricing tiers. A lot of things will be cleared to get rid of it. Some of our foreign and late-night cult movies and collectibles will not be priced at clearance, but by comparison, this is still a bargain. Online. buy.”

For at least the remainder of July, Viva Video plans to focus on screenings as the store bids farewell to the community.

“There is an alley next to our store. We will show movies on the wall. We plan to make a bunch so that every staff member has one night to choose and say goodbye to the community through the movies they make. I think it’s right. Film history is important, or what do they think about the fun of film.”

Gomez is cautious about his own choices, but said that one of them may be a silent film with live scores, which is traditionally uncommon. The other may be a “tampered” action film, he said half-jokingly, this may be a long-lost French detective film.

Gomez’s adoration and knowledge of film history are contagious. He realized that nine years of owning Viva Video was a special experience.

“Owning a video store in this day and age is kind of indulgence to some extent,” Gomez said. “I don’t think there is any reason not to indulge in my fantasies to the last minute, to have some off-site screenings that I want to do.”

Gomez is not joking about the dying variety of video rental stores.Since 2000, they have grown from approximately United States 27,800 Less than 2,000, this number will increase with Turn off home video, The last remaining rental chain in the country. The world’s blockbusters and Hollywood films have given way to ubiquitous streaming media platforms. Redbox’s vending machine provides a pale reminder that it used to mean browsing a physical copy of something without owning it.

Even the birth of Viva Video benefited from the closure of other video stores, because Gomez was able to collect some of their rare items. Some stores just show solidarity, such as Video Americain in Baltimore, which has been in business for 30 years. Before it closesThe owner, Barry Solan, not only invited Gomez to help store his up-and-coming Viva Video series, but Solan’s business also sown the seeds For Beyond Video, a non-profit organization run by volunteers Since then it has bloomed in Baltimore.

“I actually got a lot of rare items from Video Americain,” Gomez said. “When we opened, they actually called me because they were very excited about someone opening a store.”

If others are to take over the mantle of Viva Video in the Philadelphia area, they will surely put the rest of the industry in trouble. Gomez doesn’t know of any other movie rental stores besides Beyond Video, it is actually more like a library.

“I don’t know anyone else,” Gomez said.

The 42-year-old shopkeeper works part-time as a nurse at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. One of the sad things about the closure of Viva Video is that before he was vaccinated, he mostly had to stay away from the store during the coronavirus pandemic. He wants to protect his employees from COVID-19, and Gomez said that he has not received a salary from Viva Video for several years to ensure that he remains open while supporting his medical career.

He said his experience as a nurse on the COVID floor during the pandemic was cruel, but also necessary work.

“This is as tragic as the experience of others,” Gomez said. “This is heartbreaking, do you know? I have seen more deaths than I signed up for, and many people can’t help you. I have been a nurse for four years and I am not a hospice nurse. This is not where My interest lies in it, but I think everyone must deal with death better.

“When they died, I used to hold the hand of someone who had no family permission to be there. Death is sad, but everyone has no way to be around their loved ones-it’s rough. It’s definitely traumatic in many ways, but I think I am doing something important and I am very happy that I am doing it.”

Viva Video plans to keep its social media channels active to “send transmissions” and may retain some kind of online community, which may include podcasts if there is interest and organization behind it. Currently, Gomez and his team are focusing on the whirlwind of closing a company that has survived for nearly a decade.

With the upcoming closure, Gomez is not yet sure how he will express his love for movies in the post-long live video and post-pandemic world.

“This is one of the hardest parts for me. I am at least a self-identified film expert, and the fact that I own a store gives me some sense of authority, which is really good,” Gomez said . “It would be weird for me not to have that. But Philadelphia has a lot of great movie stuff that I have always liked. Exhumed Films did great things. International House, when they were nearby, they did great Things. PhilaMOCA will do some cool things. I still plan to do those things.”

Please stay tuned to Viva Video’s social media channels for the latest information on screenings and liquidation sales in August.





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