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Local video stores thriving again after Blockbuster turns off lights

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About 10 years ago, a giant yellow "store closing" banner is probably the last thing you'd see hanging on a Blockbuster Video.  Many small independent video stores saw Blockbuster as the Goliath to their David.

Now some of those "mom and pop" video stores that survived the reign of Blockbuster are thriving once again -- like the Austin institution "I Luv Video."

This weekend they opened a new wing to their location on Guadalupe...with the video rentals in the front, the new so-called "Back Room" is filled with vintage stuff like reel to reels, VHS, 8-tracks, vinyls...even laserdisc movies.  Yeah...remember laserdisc?

"You come back here in this backroom, it's like 'Wow, there's 200 laserdiscs back here and that's just like...that's almost like a dead language," Ray joked.

"I Luv Video" manager Jason Ray says since Blockbuster's demise, he's seen a resurgence of interest in small video stores.

"To see a younger crowd you know from 15 to 20 that have never even stepped foot in a video store and they're just amazed you know and even to see the older crowds 'Please don't ever go out of business, please don't ever'...I mean people...almost need a video store," Ray said.

Customer Kyle Knopf agrees with that.

"It reminds of when I was a kid going to the local video store.  It's more fun, it's more of a purpose for renting movies.  Netflix and stuff like that you can just scroll through," Knopf said.

Another survivor of the video store apocalypse...Vulcan Video!

Vulcan's Ben Martin says they're opening a brand new place soon on North Loop.

"It's a really nice location.  It's bigger so we can spread our movies out a little bit more and we've got some spots for window displays and stuff like that," Martin said.

I Luv Video's Ray calls the new era of mom and pop video stores more like a film library...specializing in the cultivation and preservation of films...films you just can't find anywhere else.

"They don't have everything on Hulu, they don't have everything on Red Box, I mean I think it's...what 40% of movies haven't ever been digitized or transferred to DVD," he said.

Both Vulcan Video and I Luv Video say the hands on experience you get with directors walls and staff recommendations is just something you can't get on the internet or at a kiosk at the grocery store.

"I can't really pinpoint why Blockbuster failed...but I mean...I can say they didn't give out free beer every Tuesday so...maybe they should have done that," Ray joked.

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