Matthew Adams for The Daily Texan, the University of Texas at Austin’s campus newspaper, today:
I Luv Video, a movie rental store on Guadalupe Street, closed Monday as the area continues to see widespread business relocations and closings.
It’s telling that the student reporter doesn’t even quite know what to call I Luv. “A movie rental store…” Uh…sure.
All is not lost, though. I Luv has a second location in Austin that will absorb the inventory. Still, a bummer to hear that the only video store on a college campus has shuttered. When I was a film student, I was at TLA Video in Philadelphia all the time. A video store is an amazing resource for anyone studying cinema, one whose usefulness, sadly, has not been replaced. (Not even by streaming.)
Anyone outside of Austin probably thinks it’s nuts this is even notable, but we’re lucky that we have a decently thriving video store community here. There are two main outposts: I Luv Video and Vulcan Video, the latter of which still has two locations.
I’ve always felt I kind of screwed up in New York City by not supporting my local video stores. I would get discs from Netflix whose selection was extensive but by no means comprehensive. (I’m referring to their disc rentals; their streaming product, movie selection-wise, remains a joke.) Eventually the video stores closed and went away.
So I frequent the stores here in Austin. The I Luv on Guadalupe was one I’d only been to twice (sorry!), but it had all the hallmarks of an institution. My favorite touch that will be missed: if someone never returned a rental, the staff would put their full name on the box and display it above the other shelves, calling out the sticky fingered renters. That’s the kind of stuff you’re not going to get from any streaming service. But at least there are still other stores going strong here.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a town that has a video store, go support it. You’ll miss it when it’s gone.