When William Elliott sees a Redbox at the local Publix, he doesn’t see convenience. He sees the “death of originality” – a step down from the days when human interaction was a part of every movie rental.
That’s what makes Elliott such a big fan of Retro Video in Wilton Manors. “It’s like going to a swap meet. [When you get a movie from a machine], chances are you’re not going to find strange and unique things. Some of this stuff never made the jump to DVD.”
Opened in March by Tim Abbott, Retro Video rents and sells Blue-rays, DVDs, VHS, laser discs and Betamax tapes along with movie and television memorabilia and t-shirts. Abbott likes to think of renting or buying from his store as “finding a memory.” He even stocks popcorn, candy and soda to enjoy with each flick.
“I try to create an experience that’s fun . . . whether they buy or rent. I try to carry things people are going to see and say ‘wow.’”
As a former Blockbuster employee during the early 90s, Retro Video allows Abbott to once again share his passion for movies with customers. “I love talking to people.”
As for the possibility of sharing the same fate as Blockbuster, Abbott thinks enough time has passed. “It’s been gone long enough so people miss it. You’d be surprised how many people rent VHS.”
Although he carries a lot of the same new releases as Redbox and Netflix, Abbott’s main advantage is carrying movies that even the local big box stores don’t have. “Even if it’s a really popular one, like Ben-Hur, it can be hard to find [at other stores] sometimes.”
Renting from retro Video is also slightly cheaper than Redbox. Abbott charges customers $1 for a two-day DVD rental, 50 cents for a two-day VHS rental and $2 for a two-day Blue-ray rental. Those who rent on Saturday can return their items on Tuesday without being charged the extra day.
Retro Video, located at 2420 N. Dixie Hwy., is open Tuesdays through Saturday from 2 to 9 p.m., Sundays from 1 to 7 p.m. and closed Mondays. Rentals can be made with a credit card or cash. Those who pay with cash must leave a refundable $25 deposit. Call 248-259-7779.