Goodbye Video One: Venerable Denver Video Store Announces Closing
A photo of Video One from its Facebook page.
Editor's note: The first version of this post called Video One Denver's last video store. However, Videotique, which specializes in queer cinema, remains open at its 1205 E 9th Avenue address. We've altered the headline and text on these points. We regret the error.
Video One, at 600 Downing Street, which opened in 1984, has announced that it will be closing in the next few weeks.
Here's the announcement, as shared on Video One's Facebook page:
VIDEO ONE CLOSING: After 33 years in business we will be closing. We would like to thank everyone for so many years of friendship. We will be selling our inventory, most everything will be $5 or less; the many rare, out of print and valuable things will still be priced lower than you will ever find them anywhere else ever. We are unsure of when our landlords want us out, but it will likely be the end of May.
During its heyday, Video One was a Westword favorite — though by 2001, when we named it Best Independent Video Store in that year's Best of Denver issue, there were already signs of shakiness within the industry, as witnessed by our accompanying blurb:
With big chains getting bigger, it's harder for the little guy to survive. The answer for video rental stores is niche marketing, carrying films that don't make it past the bean-counters at the big box: DVDs, classics, catalogue movies — anything and everything consumers can't find elsewhere. Video One just might have what you're looking for.
There isn't always a method to the mad way movies are displayed at Video One. The alphabet? Fuggedaboudit. If you're looking for a particular film, you'd better hope it finds you. Yet there's a love for film and a quirky kind of community vibe that oozes from this Capitol Hill mainstay. Clerks banter about new releases and Kurosawa while cleaning out the popcorn machine. Clever notes about the merits or failings of a particular film are taped up everywhere — and the staff is likely to have actually seen many of the movies in the store. The inventory numbers in the thousands, with a well-worn back catalogue of older documentaries, music videos and stand-up comedy to match its cutting-edge selection of new foreign, gay and lesbian, and low-budget releases. Video One is an indie oasis in a corporate-controlled industry, as diverse and well-worn as the neighborhood it serves.
But on-demand movies and services such as Netflix, which transitioned from physical discs to a streaming behemoth, subsequently gutted the video rental business — though the industry, and government officials, took a while to accept reality.
Back in April 2012, Blockbuster, which had been acquired by DISH Network, revealed that it was moving its headquarters to Denver — a development that contributor Jef Otte greeted with a post headlined, "Blockbuster Is Moving to Colorado. I'm Sending Poop."
Governor John Hickenlooper didn't. That August, he took part in a ribbon-cutting at Blockbuster's new worldwide headquarters.
Governor John Hickenlooper at Blockbuster's 2012 ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Photo by Natalie Gonzalez
But all the hoopla in the world couldn't rescue a business model that had outlived its era. In January 2013, Blockbuster announced that it was closing 300 stores — the beginning of the end for the retail model.
The Blockbuster within walking distance from my house in unincorporated Jefferson County is now a dentist's office — and while there's still a Blockbuster website, the last press release on it acknowledged that domestic retail and DVD-by-mail services would end in January 2014.
Video One survived more than two years beyond that — and there are plenty of loyal customers who will hate to see it go.
Here's a sampling of Facebook comments in regard to the closure post:
Oh how sad. When we first moved here we were so happy to find an actual video store
This is terrible news!! I really hoped the funds could've been raised to save it. So lame of Denver to not keep Video One afloat.
Such a bummer. damnit.
So long and thanks for all the fish....
I'll miss this place. i really used to love renting some videos when I was young.
And then there's our favorite: "Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck........................."
We highly encourage you to stop by the store before it vanishes. Goodbye, Video One.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Westword's biggest stories.