Video View store manager Tracey Copeland sorts through stock at the only remaining video store in Red Deer Friday afternoon. (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

Red Deer’s last video rental store standing

There’s already a retro vibe about the View View outlet

There’s a quaint place in Red Deer where people still rent DVDs.

Tucked away in the city’s north side, Video View is the last local video rental store standing.

At a time when most folks get their home entertainment from Netflix, Shaw-on-demand or satellite movie stations, it’s like the past six or seven years haven’t happened at Video View.

And that suits some Red Deer-area residents just fine, said store owner Tari Gervais.

“There are still a few loyal ones left out there …”

A portion of store clients live in rural areas with poor Internet service. Some older customers struggle with new technologies, while others have a nostalgic hankering for a certain movie they just can’t get on Netflix, and come in to find it.

Video View at 6842 50 Ave. maintains rows of DVDs on shelves that can be perused — from family classics to horror flicks, current releases to golden oldies. There are also rental video games for those who like trying them out before ordering.

A “surprising” number of customers don’t know what they would enjoy watching, so come for referrals from store staff, who love talking movies, said Gervais.

Still others long for bigger selection of G-rated family entertainment. Gervais has had parents tell her they like bringing their kids in for old-fashioned treats — like the free popcorn in the store, or a wide selection of ice cream.

Every week, someone stumbles upon the outlet and marvels it’s still here. ‘They say, ‘Wow. I miss these stores!’ ” Gervais added.

But she’s the first to admit the business not going to last forever. Video View is as hard-hit as other local business by the rough economy. And more technological change is unavoidable. For instance, many people think nothing of pirating a video, said Gervais. Shaw is part of a class-action lawsuit attempting to stop the android box that facilitates this.

Video View has been open in the location that was formerly a VHQ and a Movie Gallery since 2010— a year before Blockbuster went into receivership. Gervais said Video View used to have two Red Deer stores, but amalgamated them as business dwindled.

“I guess we’ll just ride it out, because we have some really awesome staff here and I’d hate to see them lose their jobs,” she added.

Among them is store manager Tracey Copeland, who has a long relationship with some customers, who value her opinion about films.

Her current recommendations? The Accountant for drama, Mr. Right for comedy, and Don’t Breathe for horror.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

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