It seems that every other day or so, a new customer browses the Best Video collection for the first time and tells us, “Wow! This store is incredible! Love your Oscar Losers Section.” Or a veteran member will continue to be amazed: “You guys are an irreplaceable resource. Your store would make Scorsese proud! And the beer and wine is a brilliant addition to your coffee bar!”
Yet it is no secret that these are hard times for brick-and-mortar video stores. In fact, we are the last video store left in the New Haven area, outlasting both big corporate chains and other independents. Unfortunately, though, we aren’t immune to the trends that have swept our competitors away. In order to buck those trends, we’ve found innovative ways to enrich our cherished status as a community cultural center—such as through our Best Video Performance Space, which has been showcasing live music, spoken word and film events for the past year and a half. If we are going to stick around, though, we’ll need support in return from our community. That is why we are reaching out to you today.
Where We Came From and Where We Hope To Go
Twenty-seven years ago, Best Video opened a tiny 350-square-foot space in Spring Glen, across from Connecticut Savings— five banks ago! It’s true, at the time, we could only afford 500 movies (VHS, of course), but each was a title we could recommend. Our mission was simply to turn people on to good movies and not have them waste their time or money.
This is still our mission today! We remain hopeful that there will always be a few brick-and-mortar stores staffed with real people who can answer questions, and offer recommendations—a place where you can make good spontaneous and/or serendipitous movie choices without having to trust to an impersonal algorithm.
Community Help for a Community Store
But Best Video is not just a place where you can pick up a great film. It’s a place that offers live music and spoken word events, Sunday kids matinees, and a coffee & wine bar where you can hang out. It is also a place that hires local people, patronizes local vendors and suppliers, and keeps its revenues and salaries in the local economy.
In a time when community small business institutions are being bulldozed by soulless corporate chains and distant online behemoths we believe there is still a place for a local-rooted business with heart and soul that thrives on catering to your needs on a face-to-face, personal basis. We aren’t voicemail hell—we’re video heaven.
If you believe—as so many of you have told us—that a real video store/film and community center still has a place in our locale—that ours is a place worth something to you—then we are asking for your support. If you would like us to continue to be here—helping you with your DVD renting and buying, informing and guiding you with our newsletters and recommendations, entertaining and enlivening you with our Performance Space spoken word, live music, and film events—this is how you can help:
• RENT — If everyone reading this letter rented once (or more!) a week, Best Video would thrive. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT AND EFFECTIVE WAY TO HELP.
• SUPPORT US THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS — We have plenty of new and used DVDs in stock. If we don’t have what you want, we’ll get it for you in a day or two. We are the best source for movie and music and book special ordering. And our recommendations are priceless!
• SPREAD THE WORD — Word of mouth has always been our most valuable marketing tool. Please join our Best Video Facebook page. And sign up for our weekly Newsletter in the store or at www.bestvideo.com! (New DVD arrivals, reviews, news and discounts.)
• ATTEND OUR PERFORMANCE EVENTS. Have a night out with friends! Meet someone new! Enjoy a beer with our live music or a glass of wine with that book reading. Pick up the Performance Space’s schedule card or call us at (203) 287-9286. Information on shows is also available at www.bestvideo.com/category/performance-space-events/.
• RENT OUR PERFORMANCE SPACE AND/OR WINE & COFFEE BAR for a meeting, party, art reception, book or movie club, powerpoint seminar (we have a 120″ screen and Blu-Ray projector as well as a large flat screen). If you haven’t seen our comfortable and intimate Performance Space and Wine & Coffee Bar, come in and check them out.
• BUY A GIFT CERTIFICATE.
• DONATE your used DVDs for us to sell.
• We’ve explored the idea of non-profit status and would welcome speaking with any of you who could provide valuable input, including GRANT WRITING SERVICES or advice to Best Video staff members on grant writing.
As always, we are grateful for your continued support.
If you have any ideas or suggestions about how Best Video may continue to serve you, we would love to hear them. Please feel free to communicate with us. After all, face-to-face communication is our business! And with your help and support, it will continue to be so.
With Gratitude and Best Regards,
Hank Paper, Richard Brown, Hank Hoffman…and the staff at Best Video