It’s a wrap on Select Video in Courtenay.
As of the end of this month, Courtenay’s first and now last-standing video rental store is closing its doors, putting an end to an era of VHS and DVD rentals.
“It’s a death by 1,000 technologies,” said owner Doug Bams, who, along with his partner Troy are selling their merchandise in order to close the Cliffe Avenue store.
“Definitely the writing was on the wall, especially when Blockbusters and Rogers (Video) closed.”
The pair was inspired to own a video store years ago when travelling in Gibraltar, and they crossed paths with a Canadian couple from Victoria who owned seven video stores.
Upon returning to the Comox Valley, the couple asked their Realtor if a video store became available, they would be interested, and in October 1991, they became owners of Select Video, originally located on Fifth Street.
“It was really nice — it was a place the whole family could come and find something to watch together. You would meet people, and talk about different things in the store. It’s sort of like losing part of the neighbourhood,” explained Troy.
“Everyone has their own screens,” added Doug.
Years ago, Doug recalled the store owned 90 VHS machines which people could rent, as the cost of owning a machine was more than $1,000. On weekends, the store would rent all of their machines, and people would put their names on waiting lists for movies.
“It would cost us between $80 to $100 per tape to buy from our distributor,” noted Troy.
When they first purchased the business Doug estimates they had about 4,000 tapes. At their peak, they held about 12,000 titles.
The pair never ventured into buying laserdiscs, and waited a few years to begin growing their DVD collection. They dabbled in renting games, but admitted they lost money on them, and stuck primarily with movies.
With the store closing in about a week, the Bams are selling their collection, and Doug said people are buying up tapes.
“There are movies in our horror and international section that you just can’t find anywhere else,” he said, and Troy added they have more than 1,500 films in their large foreign and Canadian sections.
Troy noted they will miss their long-term staff and the overall energy in the store, with some staff members working at the store for more than seven years.
“People come in and are having a conversation with each other and everyone’s always happy,” she added.
The couple now consider themselves semi-retired, and plan to travel once the store closes.
As for their favourite movie?
“The Intouchables,” said Troy.
“Grizzly Man and Highway 61,” added Doug.
Select Video is located at 1255 Cliffe Ave. They are open daily 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. until the end of the month.