Thanks to the boom of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, VHS stores, once a staple in major cities, are now a thing of the past. However, people still value the old media and its contents, as VHS to DVD stores still stand and old VHS tapes are sold on auction sites for big lumps of cash.
One film fan in Liverpool is going farther than that, however. Andy Johnson, a writer and tape hoarder, recently opened a VHS store in Liverpool, convinced that the old medium is making a comeback, a rumour most VHS to DVD store would want to validate.
His store, VideOdyssey, is different from the video shops that littered the UK in the late 80’s and 90’s, featuring a secret room filled where they can swap VHS tapes, enjoy vintage arcade games, as well as enjoy a cup of coffee. The room is hidden by a sliding wall disguised as a shelf of VHS tapes.
Video hire shops used to be dotted across the UK, a multi-million pound industry, but was considered by many as dead when the last Blockbusters closed their doors back in 2013. Now, the recently opened VideOdyssey is the only VHS store in Liverpool. According to Johnson, he opened the store in the belief that fans are looking for a curated experience that doesn’t have them scrolling through an endless list of online movies, and that it was possible to go against the trend of online streaming services by giving customers an immersive experience when they walk into a brick and mortar store.
The VHS to DVD industry does well to save some of the VHS tapes, but millions of hours of film are still at risk of being lost forever, either due to mould or being scrapped thanks to being unable to recycled.
VideOdyssey is based in the studio inside Toxteth TV, on Windsor St., Liverpool, and offers vintage VHS players for those looking to enjoy the nostalgic videotapes, private VHS screening rooms with curated cinema screenings as well as Q&As with directors and other film events.
Andy Johnson hopes that the store would be more than just a video store, more than just a nostalgia trip for the fans of film.