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Can an Indie Movie Rental Store Survive? Counting Down for Video Free Brooklyn

by Anthony Kaufman
July 19, 2012 9:16 AM
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With just over a week left in its Indiegogo fundraising campaign, indie movie rental store Video Free Brooklyn -- a relic of a bygone era, attempting to find new relevance in the digital age -- is struggling to meet its $50,000 goal. But with nearly $8,700 raised so far, critic-programmer-proprietor Aaron Hills says he'll have enough to keep the place from collapsing. (Indiegogo participants retain funds raised even if they don't reach their goal.)

video free brooklyn

"The first $10K will go towards what's most pragmatic, including more/collapsible shelving, repaired floors (we have uneven, crappy, impossible-to-clean linoleum -- when it rains, it pools in different spots), painting, etc," he said, via email. "We've prioritized our wish list depending on how much we get, so A/V equipment is way down the totem pole compared to, say, fixing rotting wood in the outer structure."

Renovations are scheduled to take place during the last two weeks of August.

Hillis, who may be thought to be embarking on an impossible mission, managed to enliven a new alternative film exhibition space in Brooklyn, the reRun Gastropub Theater in DUMBO -- a position which he recently left. So maybe it's not all that unbelievable to create a cinephile's haven in Cobble Hill.

Based on current fundraising levels, Hillis may have to wait to realize his dream of creating additional space for after-hours screenings, panels, readings and special guest appearances. Then again, he's still got another week.

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  • Aaron Hillis | July 19, 2012 9:49 PMReply

    Hey Dave, this is Aaron from VFB. Not sure when you called, but it might have been during our week of Verizon line troubles (which just returned post-storm), or when an employee was at the bank getting change. (There's only one person working at a time.) The point being, we definitely answer our phone if it rings, and as a longtime patron there, I can assure you customer service is important to me and my newly transitioning staff. We're not Kim's; snotty attitudes are not our style.

  • Dave | July 22, 2012 9:36 AM

    Ok i'll take your word for it and give you guys another shot.

  • Dave | July 19, 2012 10:37 AMReply

    I called them at 12:30pm on a weekday to check their stock, thinking OK, I'm going to give them a shot. (Because they were never very friendly to me whenever I went in there.) There was no answer. If they want to survive, which I hope they do, I think they need to be a bit more customer-service oriented, as unhip as that sounds.

  • Aaron Hillis | July 19, 2012 9:51 PM

    Oops, should've hit "reply." See above...

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