After outlasting one-time behemoth Blockbuster by almost a decade, Black Dog Video has announced that it’s closing for good.
First opening its doors in the mid-’90s on Cambie, the Vancouver institution has operated on Commercial Drive since 2005.
In a newsletter to customers, owner Darren Gay said the decision was one of the hardest of his life. Citing spiralling operating costs combined with the convenience of renting movies on streaming services, he called the closure something that was a long-time coming.
“It’s finally time to rip that band-aid off and pull the trigger so to speak,” Gay wrote. “Business has been on a decline for years while costs–rent, etc–have steadily risen. We just can’t feasibly stay open any longer. We lost the war to, what I call, the ‘convenience of mediocrity’ that is streaming et all.”
He continued with: “Unless some kind of miracle comes along–maybe a wealthy benefactor takes us under their wing or a long-lost relative wills me their fortune (yes, I’m willing to spend a night in a haunted house!)—then we will be closing our doors come the end of June (tentative date as I’m on the hook with my lease until February).”
Black Dog Video carried the latest Hollywood blockbusters and critically acclaimed indie films, but the real greatness of the store was its collection of films that aren’t available on Amazon Prime, Netflix, Crave or Apple TV.
After striking out everywhere on the digital front, Black Dog was where you could David Lynch’s Wild At Heart, Julien Temple’s The Filth and the Fury, and the ’70s car-chase classic Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry.
But being a go-to destination for hard-to-find films wasn’t enough to pay the bills at Black Dog.
“It breaks my (and the staff’s) hearts to have to do this as I’ve loved this job and feel damn lucky and privileged to have been able to bring the world of cinema to Vancouver for so long,” Gay said. “It’s going to be a difficult next few months. I want to thank all of you who came through our doors over the years and especially the ones who stuck with us till the end – a proper eulogy is still to come. Dark days indeed.”
Black Dog is currently pricing stock for sale to the public, with that date likely to be May 22. In the meantime the store remains not only open, but a great place to find Illustrious Corpses, Mill of the Stone Women, and Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge.