SEATTLE : Touted as the “largest independent video store in the country,” Scarecrow Video, ahead of Saturday’s International Independent Video Store Day, has some very sad news — the store penned an open letter to customers asking for help to stay afloat:
“It is a difficult time to be a video store, and the past several years have not been kind,” wrote Scarecrow Video owners, Carl Tostevin and Mickey McDonough. “Our rental numbers have declined roughly 40% over the past 6 years. This isn’t a huge surprise —obviously technology has been moving this direction for some time — but the decline has been more dramatic than we had anticipated.
“We’ve responded to the changing marketplace in pretty much every way we know how to. We’ve expanded our sales sections for both new and used movies, it’s now one of the largest in-stock Blu-ray sales inventories in the area. We’ve opened VHSpresso, serving some of the best coffee (from 7 Roasters), tea (from Teahouse KuanYin), and chai (Tipu’s Chai) around, as well as sodas, snacks and beer. We’ve created a seating-area/screening room/event space where we show films throughout the day and we hold events like book signings, filmmaker talks, and Tuesday night ‘Geeks Who Drink Trivia.’ We’ve got a whole calendar full of events! We’ve brought in movie posters, film-related toys, books, and soundtracks on vinyl. We’ve added rental specials and date night and family package deals. We’ve increased our online presence and web sales. We’ve cut our operations costs as much as we can. But even as we try to offer our customers new and interesting reasons to come in, we simply are not generating enough traffic to support managing and maintaining the world’s largest collection of films.”
So, what can you do to help? Scarecrow’s owners ask you to rent a couple of movies once or twice a month.
“Scarecrow Video is a labor of love,” the owners said. “Everyone involved here does what we do because we love this place and what it represents: Uniting People With Film, access to film and film knowledge for everyone. Scarecrow has never been about making money, but it has to support itself. It’s no longer doing that, and hasn’t for a while.”
Read the full letter here. You can visit Scarecrow Video at 5030 Roosevelt Way NE in the University District.