Monday, May 1, 2017

Adieu, Rain City Video

Last week I said goodbye to a beloved local haunt.

Rain City Video has been a video rental store staple in Seattle, WA for nearly 30 years, and I have had the great joy of having their flagship store located just down the street from me.

For 10 years I enjoyed the sometimes hot and humid and sometimes brisk and bright walks down the quiet neighborhood street, then rounding the corner to be faced with Never A Cloudy Day.

I've thoroughly enjoyed visits to a local independent video store ever since Dad brought home our first VHS player in 1986 - and we all gathered around, gazing and gawking at it like it was a rare diamond. The youngest brother figured out how it worked first.

From then on Friday family night visits to the video store in our small South Dakota town became a highlight of the week, for all of us. Naturally, nearly all of us gathered in the Horror section.

Adulthood and a move to the city didn't change my opinion of video stores or my love of visiting one on a weekend night. I could spend an embarrassingly long time in one - even in Blockbuster. Family-owned shops will always be my favorite, however.

Even as technology made it possible for me to stream nearly any film I desired directly from my TV and without the burden of moving a muscle, there is still nothing quiet like walking down the street to the local video store. Being greeted by the quirky film aficionado staff, hearing a random film play in the background, slowly working my way down the isle - shelf by shelf...

I visited Rain City Video for the last time last week. I wandered around it's nearly bare shelves, recalling so many fond memories ...and sighing.

For the last four years I visited this shop every week in October to select Horror Habit's October Challenge random movie picks. I loved everything about this experience. Loved everything. The walk through the falling leaves, and taking a different route as much as possible so I could see all the latest Halloween decorations. The wonderful greetings from the staff when they saw me, "Oh, hello again! Back for more for Horror Habit?"

Of course.

I loved hearing the giggling kids trying to pick out the "scariest film, ever!" No doubt having a sleep over party and wanting to be sure to pick out the best one to keep them up all night.

I loved going over the Staff Pick shelf during October and seeing that all their favorite horror films were also my favorite horror films.

I loved this store. I loved how much nostalgia it conjured in me. I loved just closing my eyes and selecting a film for the October Challenge. I loved how close I got to seeing every horror movie in their selection. I loved my impromptu visits throughout the year and then joining my husband for a drink at the tiny fancy bar across the street, where we would talk about our day and get excited to see the latest movie pick.

I loved absolutely everything about this store and I will miss it terribly.

Not all is lost, however. Rain City is looking to transition:

"Although our store front is going away, with a bit of luck the bulk of our inventory will live on. As you may already know, Rain City Video has over 4 times the number of movies available online at Netflix and Amazon Prime combined! We are working on a plan to move the inventory of Rain City Video to an online website where movies can be viewed on your TV, Tablet, Smartphone or Computer. The name of the venture is Please sign up to at the store to receive information on our Kickstarter campaign when it is complete. If we can’t serve you through our Brick & Mortar store, it would be our pleasure to be your on-line video store. It is a big undertaking for a small company but we think it is worth a shot for many reasons and we hope you will support our efforts!"

Additionally and in the mean time, Seattle is not without its video rental store. There's still Scarecrow Video. Thank god.

Adieu, old friend. I'm very thankful to have had the opportunities I did to visit you as often I could.

Onward, upward.

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