Get Reel Video in North Slope is closing for good, I found out this weekend when a friend texted me. It was one of the last holdouts in the borough, which just lost its last brick-and-mortar Blockbuster, and one of the last video stores in Park Slope, which two years ago still had four independent video stores and now has just one: Video Forum on Seventh Avenue. Of course, this has been the way of the video store for many years, but that’s what was significant about Park Slope: long after all the video stores had shut up shop elsewhere across New York and America, they were still hanging on here. Was it only a matter of time, or is it Park Slope’s that changed? “We still have a prepaid package,” my friend told me. “We will have to get Netflix or something.”
I contacted the store’s owner, Christine Kim, to ask what had happened. “The store had a good run almost seven years, and I am grateful for that,” she wrote in an email. “It’s time to move on and hope our patrons will understand. Thanks to them we were able to be in business this long.” A sign on the door of the store is a bit more candid: “unfortunately, we could no longer compete with the power of the internet.”
Two years ago, Kim and I spoke about her customer base and how it kept her open, but she also said that base was shrinking. “It’s our loyal customers who sustain us,” she wrote then. “However, our demographics are changing a lot, so the the more well-rounded film lover or artist is replaced with a more homogeneous or gentrified community, who are more into blockbuster titles and mainstream movies.”
Get Reel Video is just a DVD’s throw from the new Barclays Center. Did its opening herald the official start of a new era in North Slope, one without room for Triangle Sports and independent video stores? Or was it just a coincidence that a doomed business model wasn’t able to hang on past February 2013?
Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart