‘End of an era’: Liquidation sale of Victoria’s longest-running video store begins

Click to play video: 'Victoria’s popular Pic-a-Flic video store closing'
Victoria’s popular Pic-a-Flic video store closing
Pic-a-Flic has been a fixture for 40 years with an almost cult-like following. Now the institution is set to close at the end of September. Kylie Stanton checks in on their massive closing sale – Aug 31, 2023

It’s been an emotional summer for Kent Bendall, owner of the longest-running video shop in Victoria and one of the few enterprises of its kind left in the B.C. capital.

After praying for an angel investor or a last-minute windfall, Bendall said the liquidation sale for PIC-A-FLIC on Pandora Avenue has finally begun, marking the end of a business 40 years in the making.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver Island’s last video rental store is closing'
Vancouver Island’s last video rental store is closing

“I’m starting everything at a high price then as the weeks go by everything drops per unit weekly or daily, maybe towards the end of it,” he told Global News on Wednesday.

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“It’s been crazy, it’s been really enthusiastic. A lot of people are coming by just to say their farewells to the store as well, so it’s been very emotional.”

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The sale continues until the end of September, when the shop closes its doors.

According to PIC-A-FLIC’s website, more than 30,000 titles from around the world are available at “Victoria’s deepest video library.”

“We have five times as many titles as Netflix Canada, and most of our library is around half the price of online rentals,” the website states. ”

“Come by and explore Icelandic dramas, cult sci-fi, rare documentaries, independent animation, music concerts, 1930s detective movies, and 1970s comedy TV.”

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Bendall said he’s observed a “backlash against streaming” from many who frequent his shop, and recognize the value of “hanging on to that physical media,” particularly if it’s a beloved film or series.

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“People are sad. People are very sad that this institute and the video store kind of concept is over now. It’s the end of an era,” he said.

“We kept out titles and we had titles you couldn’t get anywhere else … movies from Croatia, Sweden and Argentina, as well as Canadian independent films.”

The long-time business owner said he believes his business is truly special — one of few worldwide that has remained so dedicated to the preservation and propagation of global cinema from all decades.

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Shopper Michelle Hall said she doesn’t have a computer or any streaming subscriptions and went to PIC-A-FLIC on Wednesday for the “memories.”

“I still have VHS videos of my kids’ favourite shows and videos of my kids. It’s nice to hold it,” she said of the physicality of DVDs and tapes.

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“Change is good. It will be nice when I get to the point where I can stream everything and get rid of all the DVDs and VHS — out of the house, less clutter — but I guess I’m just not ready yet.”

Another shopper, Daryl Chase, didn’t know PIC-A-FLIC was renting. Chase went to the shop Wednesday in search of an indie horror film.

“It’s a shame since there were so many around in Victoria for ages and this is the last one,” Chase said.

“It’s the end of an era. It’s hard to find more scarce stuff on streaming sites. … I’d rather give my money to somebody local than Netflix.”

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