Category_Collecting, Category_Groovy Stuff, Category_Horror, Category_VHS, Category_Weirdness -

Traveling Tapehead Uncouth Uncovers Real Live Video Rental Stores Along the West Coast with 321 Video and Ya Hots Video! Where is YOUR favorite Rental Store, Videovores? Past or Present! Shout It Out in the Comments!

The wide expanse of the wild offers Videovores many an analog treat. From the people-flooded flea markets to dingy dirt malls, the endless second-hand hubs contain piles of unloved analog glory begging to be picked up and placed back into a VCR with love and care, ready to help Tapeheads unwind with the power of play and rewind. But perhaps the most exciting random roadside encounter is the surprise existence of a still thrivin’ and jivin’ independent video rental shop. They’re a disappearing entity in the world of today, which makes it all the more exciting and interesting to see them surviving against all the anti-analog odds. Longtime LUNCHMEAT contributor and total Tapehead Uncouth is here to take us on a quick jaunt up the West coast where he spotted a few locales still rife with that rental kind of life… Take it away, mang! Recently I took a trip to the Pacific Northwest to visit family in Oregon. On this particular trip, my family and I drove all the way up the coast from California, to our destination of Florence, OR. We drove through many small towns on the isolated coast. On the way I noticed something I hadn’t seen in a long time. Independent video stores thriving! It seems that the coast of Oregon hasn’t caught on to the fact that video stores are a dying breed, and I couldn’t be happier. We stopped in Brookings, OR to check out Spotlight Video, whose logo totally rips off Hollywood Video. Well stocked and friendly, they were also selling a ton of DVDs on tables outside.


An artist rendering of what the Spotlight Video sign may have looked like.

Driving farther north and to our final destination I remembered from previous visits that there was a video store in Florence called 3-2-1 Video. Walking inside was like stepping into the past. This Mom & Pop shop has lots of DVDs to choose from and a respectable selection in every genre. They even have a cult films section. But what’s this? VHS for rent? You bet! Sprinkled throughout the sections there are indeed some VHS tapes still for rent. How AWESOME is that? The store has been there for a few decades and the owner is awesome. I went in there almost every day of my vacation and talked with him. It’s that kind of personal touch that’s lost in the land of Redbox. I also got to treat my kids to the experience - an experience I hope they remember.


The too groovy sign for 3-2-1 Video. And after we rent, we're getting Taco Bell.


The totally killer drive-thru rental return drop at 3-2-1 Video! Man, that's old-school cool.


Some VHS hangin' out FO SHO! Here's a little western flavor with a groovy Charter slip and too rad Video Gems biggun! DIG IT.

Finally, driving a bit north to the small town of Yachats, I found Ya-Hots Video and Country Store. Also thriving for many years, this small video store rents a more arty fare for film fans and a small but great selection throughout the store. I rented Stephen Chow’s kid film, CJ7 which I was super happy to find after looking around for it for a few years now. They also sell local jams, cheese, and all sorts of interesting foodstuffs. There were LOTS of films I wanted to rent, and many that I’ve seen and would give an A+. Speaking to the owner, she told me that Yachats, like many places on the Oregon coast, is a tourist destination and the tourists still want to watch movies so they help keep the business afloat. It doesn’t hurt to be right next to a seriously killer coffee shop called The Green Salmon, either. And selling some tasty treats made locally is a pretty awesome idea, too. Many of the places I visited in Oregon were very locally oriented and that probably also helps keep these Mom & Pop shops open. Doing a quick Google search I found out that there are even more video stores left in Oregon, including the legendary Movie Madness in Portland, which will be on my to-do list for next year.


The mystically magical hand-painted sign for Ya-Hots Video! THEY SEE YOUUUU, DUUUUDE.


A peek at the stock at Ya-Hots Video and Country Store. Those sliding panels in the back are mucho rad, man.


And here's a look at some of those locally made foodstuffs that are made available along with your movies. Dig that locally grown support.

It’s comforting to know that some stores are still weathering the storms and coming out strong. Do what you can to support your local video store (if you have one) and get to know the owners. They’re probably the biggest movie geeks you’ll ever meet. They’ll hip you to all the good stuff you might have missed. And who knows? Maybe you’ll make a new friend or two.

Hey, now that’s a video rental vibe you know we can dig, man! And Uncouth is totally right: the personal touch from Mom and Pop video shops was (and is) something truly special, and adds to that inimitable atmosphere that can only be contained in the rental locales of this ilk. Though many of the old-school, analog-oriented rental spaces have since turned to digitally-induced dust, it’s stories like this that keep that nostalgia keen and the memories intact. So we ask you, Videovores: What are some of your favorite Mom and Pop rental shops!? Whether they’re still rockin’ and rentin’ or they’re a mere magnetic memory, shout ‘em out and share the love of the place(s) that brought you so many magical movie rental moments. We'll pick someone at random in about a week or so, and send them a groovy little package of VHS-lovin' LUNCHMEAT goodies. SHOUT IT OUT, TAPEHEADS!

Groove and Groove and Never Give Up the Good Fight.

Intro / Outro by Josh Schafer

Body Text by Uncouth

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