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It appears to be the end of the video-rental era here
Last week, Pic-A-Flic announced its upcoming closure in September, signalling what appears to be the end of the video-rental era here.
The beloved video store first opened on Cook Street 40 years ago before relocating to its current location at Stadacona Centre in 2018. While major video chains, like Blockbuster, struggled to survive the rise of streaming services, Pic-A-Flic’s unique offerings and loyal customers kept the business afloat.
“We have films that you’ll never see anywhere else or be exposed to anywhere,” said Kent Bendall, owner of Pic-A-Flic, saying costs were too high to keep the business operating. “It’s heartbreaking but it’s the way it has to be—it’s just financially not manageable.”
Over its decades-long run, Pic-A-Flic amassed a following of loyal movie buffs seeking to find alternative choices, leading many to mourn its closure.
When Victorian Debbie Sherwood had a film-loving friend visit from Ontario in 2005, she knew Pic-A-Flic was a must-see.
“[We] picked up a few nuggets to watch together late into the night and my friend was astounded at their collection,” wrote Sherwood. “Before heading back east, my friend said—only half joking—that Dallas Road and Pic-A-Flic made the thought of relocating to Victoria very tempting.”
Charlotte Weiss would visit the store so frequently, she held onto a VCR player in order to watch its video selection, saying “we were regulars there for years.”
Since announcing the store’s closure, Bendall has received daily phone calls from people hoping to buy individual movies from the legendary stock, but he’s hoping this won’t be the fate of the collection, preferring to sell it as a whole—hopefully to another film fanatic.
“Maybe some like-minded individual will come along and decide they want a shot at running a video store,” said Bendall, who also floated the idea of the library or UVic receiving the collection.
“I’m up for anything as long as I don’t end up more in debt,” he joked.
The business will continue to operate as usual for those looking to rent their favourites this summer. The store will also sell Pic-A-Flic branded mugs and T-shirts for anyone looking to take home a piece of Victoria history.
While it’s unlikely that Pic-A-Flic’s selection will be found elsewhere, those who are still looking to pick up a rental for a movie night can visit Oswego Video in James Bay to find a modest collection of DVDs for rent, in addition to other convenience store goods.