But An Unlikely Source May Save the Iconic Video Store’s Vast Library

Recently the Hammer Came Down

Word on the street picked up momentum over the week that Northampton’s last and greatest video store would be closing it’s doors this coming July.   It became official today when the video store  announced it on their Facebook Page.  A sad development for the Northampton community, but one which was, as many had said in interviews, “inevitable.”  Even the mighty Blockbuster in town fell to Netflix this year.

The question of what will become of the store space and employees remains unknown for the time being.  One thing is certain, however, the friends of Pleasant Street Video and the fans of classic & eclectic & cult cinema Pleasant Street Video has come to symbolize will not allow those memories of the community to go quietly into the night.

Local Video Stores Vs. The Internet: An Uphill Battle

By many recent accounts Netflix usage has surged to staggering numbers, with users overtaking all other forms of  bandwidth use; an impressive thirty percent is streamed Netflix content – followed by BitTorrent, another less legal solution to accessing television, film and other forms of entertainment.  We saw similar tools take down the record industry years ago.  With the onset of portable tablets that can play media anywhere, and the rate at which television and movie studios are getting involved with the web (to the point of exclusive web content for many shows and movies) the days of local video rental stores seems doomed.

And so it is with Pleasant St Video, a long time compatriot to neighbor Pleasant St Theater- which recently went through an almost identical financial crisis (saved at the eleventh hour by Amherst Cinema). Pleasant St Video has been a mainstay in Northampton for twenty five years and has survived like it’s compatriot through the many acculturations the town has witnessed.

When Dan Crowley of the Gazzete spoke with Dana Gentes, the Video store’s general manager, a few weeks ago, Pleasant St Video staff and patrons were still unsure of the future of their beloved haunt. Dana Gentes’ words foreshadowed the coming tides:

“I sense it is coming eventually. I don’t see this kind of business lasting. Might be three months from now, might be a year from now.” She went on, “The revenue isn’t there to sustain the business,” he added. “We’re in the same boat as every other video store.”

Save The Pleasant Street Video Movie Collection

Film and Literature has classically been at odds, with the former thinking the latter a bit snobbish and the latter thinking the former a bit shallow, yet throughout the years theirs has remained a give-and-take relationship. Primarily with movies taking all kinds of things from books – plots, characters and worlds. But now the world of Literature is giving a little back.

Forbes Library is leading an initiative to save the entirety of the Pleasant St Video Library and make it a part of their on permanent video collection. Effectively this would make over 8,000 titles available for rental to the public – for FREE! The Library is looking to raise the $60,000 dollars needed to save the entire collection through small individual donations.

For just  eight (tax deductible) dollars, you can save one film from the fires and place it in the Forbes stacks, helping the library to nearly triple its collection, and help save many rare and hard to find titles.

Forbes has made it easy to donate – setting up a site here, linked directly from the Pleasant St Video website.

Forbes Library seeks to acquire the entirety of Pleasant Street Video's Collection