Tucked away on a quiet street in Downtown Kingston is Classic Video — one of the only video rental stores left in the region. This weekend marks 30 years it’s been open.
After that much time, it’s easy to get to know your customers.
“We know that somebody’s mother has been in the hospital so that’s good enough you can be a little late with the movie,” Longtime employee, Ray Hallett said. “Or if you’re driving in from Harrowsmith and the weather’s been bad.”
It’s that hospitality which has kept customers coming back — and the selection of more than 50,000 mostly-obscure titles.
“If you went in there and were like ‘oh I’ve heard of this movie’ and you couldn’t name (it) but you knew random things about it, they’d have it somewhere in the back,” Kelly Salmon said of Classic Video’s selection.
“It’s just nostalgic. You get to go in and walk the aisles. Reminds you of being a kid,” another customer, Kyle Boyce added.
Hallett has been an employee at the video store since a few weeks after it opened in 1987, and similar to today’s competition with streaming services like Netflix, Classic Video seems to have always been fighting an uphill battle.
“Blockbuster was a threat because they had the convenience. It was all about convenience,” Hallett said. “You could park there, they had the refreshments in the building.”
While they’ll never be able to match the convenience of not having to leave your couch, this small video store will stick with what’s got them this far and keep connecting with their customers, hopefully for years to come.
“I mean, we’re looking forward to staying a few more years here at least. We just renewed the lease last summer I think,” Hallett joked.