As brick and mortar video stores have taken a back seat to companies like Netflix who offer streaming and mailing options, going to a video store to rent a movie has become a thing of the past. Waiting in long lines, rushing to return your rental on time, arguing late fees, and hurrying to the video store to get that new release has become a distant cultural relic. It’s a Phenomenon that children will hear or maybe even read about but never truly experience.
Yet, maybe there is something to be said about the art of browsing the isles of movies, flipping the box over and reading the description, and actually having to make a little effort for your movie date night. Perhaps this is why that despite the downward trend of video stores, the Video Library in Mount Airy has endured.
Nestled on Germantown Avenue, not far from bustling Chestnut Hill shopping and across from Mount Airy’s popular bar McMenamins, sits one of the last bastions of the video store in Philadelphia. The Video Library is owned by building owner David Fellner. How has David managed to keep the video Library open all these years? Believe it or not, The Video Library has some advantages that alternatives like Netflix and Redbox don’t.
First, since David is the building owner, he doesn’t have to pay rent on the property. This allows the Video Library to turn a profit. Yet, David clearly isn’t in it for the money. According to David, it’s "part of creating a cultural focus for community".
Second, unlike Netflix the Video Library doesn’t have to wait 30 days until it provides customers with new releases. No more waiting to see that movie you’ve been dying to watch.
Lastly, the Video Library also has a delicious ice cream shop right when you walk in. What could be better than browsing movie selections with a scoop of chocolate or vanilla?
While some may say the video rental industry as we once knew it will fade into oblivion, no one knows what the future will hold. If you told a record shop owner on the eve of their demise that vinyl records would make a comeback in a few decades, you’d probably get a good laugh. Yet, a few miles up the street from the Video Library is Hideaway Music, offering a wide selection of that scratchy vinyl sound to its patrons. Perhaps the success of the Video Library is just a sign of things to come.