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Fri July 15, 2011
Film Lovers Save Video Store's Collection
By Paul Tuthill
Northhampton, MA –
A landmark video store in Northampton Massachusetts closes its doors for good today. But thanks to the public's response to a fund raising campaign, the store's video collection will be available at the local public library. WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports
Pleasant Street Video opened in downtown Northampton in 1986, and offered up home entertainment for a generation in the Pioneer Valley. As with video stores across the country, its customer base shrank sharply in recent years, as more and more people rented DVDS by mail, and from vending machines or watched movies streamed online.
Dana Gentes, co-owner and manager, said when word spread a couple of months back that the video store, beloved by cinephiles and film students was being forced to close, there was concern about what would become of its extensive collection of foreign, independent and oddball films many of the titles out of print and hard to find. The store needed money to cover its debt. Gentes agreed to team with the Forbes Library and for each 8 dollars, donated by the public, give a video to the library.
Yes, the irony is that the internet, blamed for helping to kill Pleasant Street Video's business, is helping to preserve its video collection for public use.
More than four thousand DVDs have gone from the store to the Forbes Library, tripling the library's video collection, according to Faith Kaufmann the arts and music librarian who says the titles will be available to lend to the public as soon as possible.
Although its important video collection has been saved, something more has been lost by the closing of Pleasant Street Video. Long time employee, Bill Dwight says the place was like a general store or a dry bar where people would come to talk about movies and life in general.
And, so the era of Pleasant Street Video comes to a bittersweet end.