After 28 years of serving Vancouver’s most discerning film buffs, Videomatica will close its doors this summer.
In a May 5 news release, co-owner Graham X Peat blamed the tremendous surge in home-video options of the past few years for the decision to finally roll the end credits on the well-known Kitsilano independent video store, and he expressed satisfaction with the almost three decades of service rendered to a faithful customer base.
“Our goal was to build the very best collection of movies available in any one place, and I think we may have achieved that,” he wrote.
“Although Videomatica was known for its many celebrity customers—among them Johnny Depp, David Bowie, Julie Christie, Colin Firth, and Jody Foster—the greatest joy was seeing our devoted movie fans comng in time after time to seek out their favourite films, directors, and actors.”
Peat told the Georgia Straight by phone that it wasn’t just TV’s video on demand and Netflix that made him and original cofounder Brian Bosworth decide to shutter the operation that was famous with film aficionados for its hard-to-find titles and sheer volume of stock.
“There are a lot of straws on that camel’s back,” he said. “There are a tremendous number of [consumer] choices out there”¦many distractions, most of them free.”
Peat added that their decision was cemented by a gradual economic erosion, “a steady slide, definitely in the past two years. No ups and downs, just downs.”
Although Videomatica's customers were loyal, he said, they couldn't ignore the cheaper, more convenient, or free alternatives available. "Most people will say [of the store], 'Yeah, great place, but I don't go there anymore.'"
A definite closing date probably won’t be announced for weeks at least, he said.
“We predict it might be before the end of the summer. We want to have control of it, and we don’t want to be one of those stores that just [disappear]. We’d like to see all our customers again and have a nice send-off.”
After opening on the 1800-block of West Fourth Avenue in May 1983, the store expanded and moved three doors down in 1987.
“We started with a very small inventory, 350 films,” Peat said, adding that many were classic movies, foreign releases, and music films. He said that the store’s DVD inventory alone now stands at 30,000 titles. “We still have many unique titles that you can’t get.”
He said the documentary collection—”probably my favourite collection in the store”—is about 2,500 titles.
Without releasing details, Peat said attempts are being made (“We’ve been in meetings for quite some time”) to ensure the collection will remain available to the public in some form in the future.
If that is not possible, he said, he and Bosworth will hold a public sale of individual titles.
So if you can’t live without that copy of Death in Venice, start saving your Pennies From Heaven.