RICHMOND, Va. — If you’ve lived in the Fan, you’ve probably rented from the Video Fan (or Fan Video — it’s in the phone book both ways).
Now the question is if the love and nostalgia behind the store will be enough to keep it operating, as consumers keep moving into a wired future clouded by Redboxes and illegally downloaded bit torrents.
Video Fan has already weathered plenty of cultural forces since opening its shop along Strawberry Street in 1986. As one of the handful of independent video stores left in the United States they are, in their words, “one of the last bulwarks in the fight to prove that physical media still matters.”
A new Kickstarter project that launched Wednesday, aptly titled Video Fan Forever, is a call to arms.
“Time is up for the Video Fan, unless we join together and make a concerted effort to do something about it,” declares Video Fan.
So does physical media matter to you?
Not in a way where you’re simply proud to have a local video store (as you open your Netflix mailer or slide a credit card through Redbox), but in a way where you go support it and find value in its existence. As a side note, in the words of the owners, it’s one of “Virginia’s largest repositories of physical media, with over 40,000 VHS tapes and DVDs in its collection, not to mention dozens of movie posters and items of video paraphernalia.”
The campaign has two basic, interconnected goals. First, they want to keep the Video Fan open another year by earning enough money to pay for its lease. Second, they want to produce a documentary about the store.
The magic number in the store’s campaign is $35,200.
One of those plans is the establishment of a nonprofit also called Video Fan Forever, and its mission is detailed on the Kickstarter page. One promise they made is this:
Whether we succeed or fail in this current effort, the nonprofit will not sponsor another Kickstarter campaign. All future resources for the nonprofit will be sought through more traditional fundraising methods. The moment to save the Video Fan via crowdsourcing is now. This is a crucial time. We will be eternally grateful to you for any help you can provide the Video Fan. We certainly don’t intend to cheapen your gesture by bothering you with repeat solicitations in the future.