CALGARY – The wife of the late Jon Lord is appealing to Calgarians to keep renting or buying movies, or donating money to keep the Casablanca Video rental store open.
“Time has kind of run out on me. Tons of people have been coming in and tons more even just this last month or so, but not the amount that we need to maintain it,” Sheryl Guillaume told Global News.
Guillaume says her husband opened the store with a catalogue system of VHS and now DVDs, with members who could choose to buy or rent movies. She says keeping the stock for 34 years in the catalogue system is what made the store stand out from Blockbuster or Rogers.
“In the basement—we’ve retired most of our VHS—but we probably have about 6,000 VHS themselves and a lot of them haven’t been turned over to DVD. A lot of people think, ‘Oh I can get that online,’ but probably at least half of ours isn’t digitalized yet.”
Guillaume moved the store from the Marda Loop location to 9136 Macleod Trail Southeast in August, months after her husband’s death. Lord passed away in March 2014, and was recognized as a community leader for his time spent as an alderman for Ward 8, the MLA for Calgary-Currie, and for his run against Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi in the 2013 civic election.
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Guillaume said she cashed in her retirement funds to make the move happen, but said funds have since been drained and customers aren’t coming in often enough to keep the store running.
She said she’s hoping for a “miracle”–for Calgarians to bring in their business, and to relocate to a 3,000 square-foot space.
“I have a month…We have probably about 5,000 previously enjoyed movies we’re selling. We have memorabilia – come in, buy something, rent something, show me that you want this store so that I can continue to fight.
“Because I’m not going to continue to fight and find a new location if no one wants to do this anymore.”
She says it’s been 34 years this week since the original video rental store opened, but if she doesn’t get her miracle, the doors will close March 15.
“I have one month to come up with a miracle in order to continue this in Calgary. Otherwise the only option I have is to box it and store it until I find a buyer for the entire collection. It’s 34 years of collecting – I don’t want to piece it out and have people just take this piece and that.”