BVC Update

Thanks to everyone who’s connected with us on social media, not to mention all of you who have made greatly appreciated donations from your video collections as we work to build our inventory. Here’s an update on where we’re at with our project, as well as a request for some help in making it a reality.

We’ve assembled a collection approaching 5,000 unique titles on DVD, VHS, and blu-ray, including a diverse spectrum of classic, independent, documentary, and foreign titles, and we’ve been working hard at cataloging and organizing the collection. We continue to solicit donations, with our primary needs being DVDs and blu-rays; any commercially issued titles on those formats can be taken to the Book Thing, which generously receives video donations on our behalf.

We’re well on our way toward our goal of building a world-class collection worthy of the great video stores of years past, and we feel confident in our ability to crowdsource many thousand more titles to make the collection even more definitive and exciting. But first, we need to find the right location.

Here’s where we need your help. As you might imagine, opening a video store these days is not a proposition that stands to bring in massive revenues, and while we feel confident that our idea for a non-profit video store is viable, finding an affordable space of an appropriate size and location is essential. We’ve put a lot of work into trying to find such a space, but so far we haven’t found the right fit.

Our hope is to find a space of similar size to the great video stores of the 80s and 90s, in a neighborhood such as Station North, south Charles Village, Remington, or Hampden. We think that for our project to work, we need to be in a convenient, central location that is also within, or close to, a shopping district of other independent enterprises. We know this is a tall order, and we’re hoping to connect with a sympathetic landlord to lease a space that meets all the above criteria. At the same time, we also remain open minded to any other location leads, space-sharing scenarios, or other new ideas that might occur to any of you.

Do you have such a space, or know a landlord we should be talking to? Please let us know! We remain very committed to building this collection and making it accessible to the Baltimore community in as affordable and accessible a manner as possible. Any help you can give us in reaching this goal is much appreciated.

THANK YOU!
The BVC

Video Americain & Future Goals

The BVC thanks Video Americain for their 25 years of enriching the cultural life of this city in so many ways. We wish them well with their closing sale and all future endeavors. As many of you may know, the BVC attempted to reach a deal to preserve the essential core of Video Americain’s collection. Everyone involved put time, energy, and care into the negotiations, but ultimately an agreement could not be met. While we’re saddened by this outcome, we remain very dedicated to the mission of keeping video-store culture alive in our city. The closing of the last Video Americain location marks the end of an era. In the coming months we’ll be taking big steps to make our vision of a non-profit video store a reality, and we’ll need your help. Please visit our FAQ for information about donating to our growing collection, and stay tuned for more updates. Thank you so much for supporting Video Americain for 25 years, and for your continued support of our project!

Video Americain

The members of the Baltimore Video Collective are sad to hear the news that the Cold Spring Lane Video Americain, the last remaining location in the chain, plans to close in the coming months. Video Americain has throughout its long history been a wonderful resource for film lovers, and a major force in the cultural life of this city. We remain hopeful that this collection, or at least key portions of it, may be able to remain in Baltimore, and we are in the process of exploring possibilities towards that goal.

Donation drop-off at The Book Thing

We’ve got good news! The awesome folks at The Book Thing of Baltimore have offered to be a drop-off location for donations to our growing collection.

They are accepting your gently-used DVDs, Blu-rays and VHS tapes, which will all go to the BVC.

Where: 3001 Vineyard Lane, Baltimore 21218
When: Every Saturday & Sunday from 9 am – 6 pm
Donations are tax-deductible, just ask for a receipt

Thanks!

FAQ about the Baltimore Video Collective

1. Who is the Baltimore Video Collective?
The BVC is a volunteer collective comprised of six individuals who share the goal of opening a new, not-for-profit video store with an art-house focus. All of us are longtime Baltimore residents active in this city’s cultural life. Each of us has several years experience working for and/or managing independent video stores.

2. Where is the BVC located?
The BVC does not yet have a storefront, but we are working towards that goal. Our focus in our current phase is building our home-video collection to a tipping point where it can generate sustainable income as a collectively run video store. Our next focus will be to find a substantial space for such a store in a centrally located neighborhood like Station North or Hampden–ideally working with a landlord sympathetic to both our project and our collective business structure. Stay tuned!

3. By “videos” do you mean only VHS cassettes?
No, we are using the term “video” as a shorthand term for all home-video formats. We have been building a sizable collection of DVDs and blu-rays, as well as VHS titles that have never been released on subsequent formats.

4. When can I start renting movies?
Once we establish a storefront, which we aim to make happen in 2013.

5. How will the BVC’s store operate?
Our plan is to operate on a membership basis, much as video stores have over the past 30+ years, with a few key differences. Because of our non-profit structure and collective ownership, we hope to be able to: keep prices lower than traditional video stores; put a higher percentage of our earnings back into the growth and maintenance of our collection than traditional video stores; and avoid the “penalization” mentality of the late-fees system at traditional video stores.

6. Will the BVC’s store carry new releases?
Yes, the BVC’s collection will serve all general-interest and new-release needs as well as maintain a strong core of art-house offerings (including but not limited to classic, foreign, independent, documentary, and GLBT films). Our new-release section will stay fresh and robust.

7. Will the BVC’s store have an adult section?
This is a frequently asked and legitimate question, and one we don’t yet know the answer to. In the 1990s many independent video stores with an art-house focus relied on revenue from adult titles to remain financially competitive with chain stores. However, we also have a sense that the internet has changed this substantially, and our priority right now is building the general collection.

8. Will you have more fundraising events, such as your December 1st launch party?
Yes! That event was a great success for us. We felt it was a dynamic public introduction to our project, as well as a fantastic evening of live entertainment. We were also thrilled by the quality, quantity, and variety of donations to our collection yielded by that event. Look for more similar events early in 2013.

9. How can I donate?
Our primary need at this point is donations, both of funds and of working-condition, commercially issued films on the DVD, blu-ray, and VHS formats. To donate email us at baltimorevideocollective@gmail.com and stay tuned for information about local drop-off sites.

10. How else can I help?
Spread the word about our project! Also, we will soon be looking for a location in Station North or Hampden, and welcome specific ideas you may have about spaces and/or sympathetic landlords.

11. Are you on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter?
But of course! Please connect with us at facebook.com/BaltimoreVideoCollective and @BmoreVideoC for the latest updates on our project and special events.

Thank You!

The Launch Party on December 1st was a great success, thanks so much to those who made it out and who donated movies to our growing collection! We received over 100 donations and enough funding to keep going with our mission. And thank you to the amazing performers who worked hard to make it such a fun night.

Stay tuned for more info on a movie donation drop-off spot, future events & more. And spread the word! Support and excitement from the community is truly the backbone of our organization.