‘A sad day’: Black Dog Video, one of Metro Vancouver’s last rental shops, calls it quits

Click to play video: 'Vancouver’s Black Dog Video closing permanently' Vancouver’s Black Dog Video closing permanently
One of the last places to rent a movie in Metro Vancouver is closing for good. Black Dog Video on Vancouver's Commercial Drive says rising rents, declining business and competition with streaming services are to blame. – Apr 15, 2022

One of the Lower Mainland’s last remaining video rental shops is calling it quits.

Black Dog Video, a Vancouver staple for cinephiles, opened its first store on Cambie Street 26 years ago and has been at its Commercial Drive location for 16 years.

“It is a sad day,” owner Darren Gay told Global News.

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“It’s been kind of in the works for a while. Business has been steadily declining. So many factors. Rent has gone up. The streaming services.”

For years, the rental shop was a hot spot for people seeking new releases for a movie night, and among those looking for selections off the beaten path.

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Gay said the store boasts an inventory of more than 17,000 titles, including cult classics and movies from the early days of film history.

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Are you nostalgic for video rental stores – Jan 29, 2018

Staff, he said, were always able to help direct people to a movie they might not have heard of — a service he says has been lost in the era of streaming video.

“We like to call it the convenience of mediocrity, the streaming services. People would rather just stay home and pick out something that is offered to them rather than put the effort into coming to pick out something they might not have heard of before,” he said.

“We have such a great selection here, but it’s hard to compete against not leaving the house.”

Gay said he is looking at winding up the business by the end of June, unless a “miracle” comes, perhaps in the form of a wealthy angel investor or unexpected inheritance.

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He said staff are currently going through the catalogue and pricing DVDs with the goal of putting them up for sale starting in early May.

Black Dog will maintain its online store to source special orders for customers, sell off stock and produce its ongoing podcast, Gay said.

He also thanked the shop’s long-time customers for sticking with the business.

“We’ve had lots of loyal customers over the years, some people have been with us since we opened, we have a lot of regulars come in,” he said.

“Unfortunately, those numbers have been dwindling in the last couple of years. We’ve been doing our best, but it’s time to close it up.”

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