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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Portland Has More Video Rental Stores than Washington, DC

Posted by Alison Hallett on Thu, Apr 24, 2014 at 11:29 AM


DCist recently ran an article about the closing of the last "proper" (read: non porn) video rental store in DC, an outpost of a regional chain called Potomac Video that started in 1981.

By my count—not including the Fat Cobras of the world—Portland has at least seven six: the venerable Movie Madness (never close!), four three Videorama locations, Clinton Street Video, and the beloved Video Lair in Sellwood (if you're in the market for a great argument against teaching literacy to children, read their Yelp reviews!).

Depending on what sort of mood you're in this morning, I suppose that's either evidence of a culturally engaged populace that supports local businesses, or an obvious consequence of the fact that Portlanders have more free time to sit around watching movies than the people making government in DC.

Either way, it's striking that so many local stores have hung on this long, even as at-home streaming options grow ever more convenient. When Video Verité on N MIssissippi closed a couple years ago, Erik Henriksen spoke with the store's owner, Marc Mohan (now the lead film critic at the Oregonian), about the challenges facing video stores these days; it's worth a read, if you're interested in the subject. I'll leave you with a gloomy quote from Mohan:

It always seemed obvious to me that the mainstream chain stores would be the first to go, and that proved to be the case. Independent stores, which catered to a more film-literate clientele, are the last holdouts, but now they are riding off into the digital sunset as well."

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