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'We loved every minute of it': Canada's oldest video store closing

After 38 years in business, Queen Video will close the doors at its last remaining location at 480 Bloor St. W. on April 28. The closed sign is seen here in the shop's window on March 22, 2019. (Veronica Henri/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network)
After 38 years in business, Queen Video will close the doors at its last remaining location at 480 Bloor St. W. on April 28. The closed sign is seen here in the shop's window on March 22, 2019. (Veronica Henri/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network) - Postmedia News Service

Video killed the radio star and now Amazon and Netflix have killed the video store — the oldest one in Canada in fact.

So says the owner of Toronto’s Queen Video, which is closing its doors after 38 years of stocking and selling rare films on April 28.

“It was just the end of a dwindling industry,” owner Howard Levman said, adding Queen Video was a “success story” rather than a “sad” one.

“So it was just time to close. There was not enough foot traffic. Not enough customers. Some of the product not being available because the people like Amazon and Netflix are hoarding it to themselves. Not putting it on DVD. It’s a mature industry and that’s why we lasted longer than most.”

Queen Video had four stores in the city at the height of its popularity with the original one located at Queen and Spadina before it closed in 2016. The remaining Bloor St. W. store had been open since 2000.

“We managed to survive the large chains that opened in our business, especially the ones from the U.S., like Blockbuster, and we loved every minute of it,” said Levman.

Levman says he has up to 40,000 DVDS to sell out of the Bloor location and while the store was doing boffo business Friday, he estimates it will take weeks to get rid of their inventory.

“It’s crazy in here but there’s enough movies to last quite a few days or weeks even,” he said.

“So everyone has different taste. So there’s 40,000 to sell and it’s going to take six weeks to sell them, so come on down.”

And while he wasn’t calling the closure sad, he said his customers are “all sad to see us go.”

“Customers love us,” said Levman. “They love the kind of movies we carry.”

“They’re really emotional about it. And the face-to-face contact was what a lot of people still wanted,” he said. “And they were our friends. Not just our customers.”

By Jane Stevenson

jstevenson@postmedia.com

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019

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