UPDATE: Curtain to fall on Charles Village Video Americain; sale postponed
Video Americain (Sun file photo / August 26, 2013)
Everyone's favorite quirky Baltimore video chain will soon shrink by half.
The Charles Village outlet of Video Americain is closing.
Monday will be the last day the shop will be open for rentals. It will then close for a few days and when it re-opens on Friday, March 16, people will have a chance to get their hands on all of the store's merchandise.
"It's a shame," says Madeline Scott, a clerk at the shop who just learned of the impending shut-down. "What you dont' get from Netflix is being able to walk in here and see all these amazing films that you probably forgotten about. It's an impressive collection."
Manager Kevin Coelho said it was a tough decision for owner Barry Solan to close the store, but one prompted by dwindling business and Solan's own health issues.
"It's the competing forces," he said. "Netflix. Redbox. Downloading and streaming. It definitely has been a sort of gradual decline.... It was the uncertain future of the business and his health alarmed him to act quickly and act now."
The sale that begins Friday, and will continue until the shop finally goes dark later this spring, will likely includes rare, out-of-print VHS titles that are worth some money. Also classic films, experimental work and versions of movies with extended cuts and bonus features. And of course all of the new releases, TV shows and Baltimore favorites people have come to expect at the store.
In other words, the sale could be a bonanza for collectors and movie geeks.
"I hope whoever ends up buying these things will take care of them," Scott said.
Coelho guessed that some of the rare movies could transfer to the Coldspring Lane Video Americain, which will remain open.
Corey Schuler, a clerk at that outlet said Video Americain might try to see if any local institutions are interested in some of the hard-to-find movies for their own libraries.
"We're going to try to call MICA and Hopkins to see if they want to buy any of the stock so it says in Baltimore somehow," he said.
For now, isn't looking forward to saying good-bye to the store's long-time and loyal customers.
"It's really sad," he said. It's going to be a real loss for the community."