In an era where digital streaming reigns supreme, Vidiots, a non-profit video store, is defying the odds and bringing nostalgia back to the movie-watching experience. Since its reopening in June, the store has been renting out over 1,300 DVDs and VHS tapes per week, proving that the magic of handpicked movies is far from extinct.
A Storied History
Vidiots originally opened its doors in 1985 in Santa Monica and stood strong for over 30 years before it had to close in 2017. Thanks to donor funding, the store found new life in Eagle Rock this year, not just as a video store but also as a 271-seat movie theater.
The building itself has its own cinematic history. “This building ran from 1929 until the year 2000 as an independent movie theater. But by the time we got it, the projectors had been off for 20 years, and the building really needed a lot of love,” says Magie Mackay, Vidiots’ executive director.
Mackay explains that the mission of Vidiots is to make movie-watching affordable and equitable, a challenging feat in today’s economic climate. “It’s very expensive to show movies if you can believe it. Our mission is to keep this experience affordable and equitable,” she states.
Film Selection and Community Engagement
With a repertoire of 60,000 titles, Vidiots aims to be more than just a store—it wants to be a community hub for cinephiles. Films range from classics like “Clue” to beloved titles like “The Land Before Time.” Mackay also shared plans for future initiatives that include education programs and VHS preservation.
Why it Matters
In an age where everything is available at the click of a button, customer Sam Boatright points out the unique experience that Vidiots offers. “There’s something very lovely and essential about going to a store, being intentional, and picking a movie out that way,” he says.
Revenue streams for the store are robust, indicating that people are indeed craving the personal touch in their movie-watching experience. While the business model still faces challenges, Vidiots is clearly enjoying a successful second act.
For those interested in the full schedule of films, visit Vidiots Foundation. Movies can be rented at $2 for members and $3 for non-members.