Category Archives: Interesting?

Thomas Video closing after nearly 34 years in Guelph

Messages of sadness, gratitude and best wishes flood social media after the closure announcement

Ian Findlay has decided to close his downtown video rental shop, Thomas Video, in the new year. He's run the business for nearly 34 years.

Ian Findlay has decided to close his downtown video rental shop, Thomas Video, in the new year. He’s run the business for nearly 34 years.

The experience of walking up and down the aisles at a video store to pick out a Friday night flick may seem nostalgic to some. To others, this may still be a regular weekend ritual.

But in the new year, this practice will come to an end for many in Guelph. After nearly 34 years in business, Thomas Video will be closing its doors for good. The final day for the shop will be Jan. 21, 2017.

“I’ve been doing this game for a long time,” said store owner Ian Findlay in an interview on Thursday.

The former Guelph councillor opened the shop on Macdonell Street in 1983 when he was 18 years old and still in high school. At the time, the rental industry was burgeoning and there was a big debate over whether VHS or BETA would take over as the next big medium.

Findlay went his own way and opened his shop with a selection of 250 video disc movies and 20 video players to rent.

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Customers driving the selection
It was this decision to provide something a little different than the competition that enabled this shop to survive over the years.

The city’s Blockbuster stores closed in 2011. Guelph no longer has a Rogers Video. Even the kiosk movie rental machines have been pulled from most local stores. Outside of the public library, Thomas Video is one of the last vestiges of the movie rental industry.

Findlay said his shop was able to outlast its big box rivals by offering something they couldn’t: independent films, hard to find documentaries and unknown foreign movies.

“We cultivated a customer base who was looking for alternatives, other than just watching the latest Transformers movie or the Hollywood blockbusters,” he said.

Customers would come in and ask if the store carried random foreign films no one has ever heard of, and if Thomas Video didn’t have it on the shelves that day, they would make sure they would have it the next time that person came in.

“Our customers helped drive our selection,” he said, adding the relationship was a two-way street. “As we were being educated in film, our customers were being educated.”

But as streaming sites like Netflix and other online platforms entered the scene, the shop could no longer keep up.

At its peak, the store offered 28,000 titles along with music and games. Netflix, according to the blog netflixable.com, carries around 4,800 movies and shows.

‘That human interaction’
In 2000, the shop moved to their present location on Baker Street, and their customers followed.

Findlay said his memberships were set up in chronological order, and member number one, his first customer, still comes into the store regularly. So does number 10, number 91, and many of the other early customers.

To date, the store has registered more than 35,300 members.

“It’s that human interaction,” that keeps people coming back, he said. “That knowledge base that my staff had of film was invaluable for customers.”

On social media, Thomas Video customers have been expressing their sadness and gratitude over the announcement Findlay made on Tuesday. He said that while reading through the comments on his Facebook, he had to turn away at one point because tears were coming to his eyes.

“It’s been a big part of my life, no question,” he said. “I’ve made the decision to close, but emotionally, I’ve got a big roller coaster ahead of me for the next couple of months.”

Many have weighed in online, including Findlay’s very first customer, Roberto Veri. “Guelph won’t be the same without you,” he writes. “Thank you for the education in the cinematic arts that you made possible.”

Another comment from Alexandria Currie says “This is so sad. You were a pillar of the community.”

Thomas Video is slated to close on Jan. 21, 2017.

Thomas Video is slated to close on Jan. 21, 2017.

What comes next
When the time comes to close the doors, the massive selection of videos will be sold off, Findlay said. When and where the films will be sold has yet to be decided.

The Thomas Video space at 60 Baker Street is owned by Findlay and will be sold off as well. He said he already has someone lined up to buy it, but didn’t comment any further on who would be moving in.

Even without his store, Findlay said he lives downtown and doesn’t plan on going anywhere else. The #HappyMaking street pianos – a campaign he started years ago – will continue to come out every September, and he plans to stay very involved in the community.

As for Findlay himself, the 52-year-old said his entrepreneurial spirit will lead him towards the next project, whatever that may be.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if I showed up in business again in the very near future,” he said.

Chris Seto is a reporter/photographer with the Guelph Mercury Tribune. He can be reached at cseto@guelphmercurytribune.com or on Twitter at @topherseto

 

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#HappyMaking Street Pianos rollout Sept 1

pianoposter2016

Hello friends,

It’s that time of year again.

Kids will be going back to school, the Guelph Jazz Festival will be on and the streets of @DowntownGuelph will be alive with the sounds of #HappyMaking Street Pianos.

11 locations this year. Some new and some of your old favourites.

Guelph Community Health Centre– 176 Wyndham St. N
Grey Rock Clothing– 29 Quebec St.
Guelph Public Library -100 Norfolk St
Guelph Transit– *Transit shelter at St. George’s Square
Guelph Central Station near Macdonnell
Guelph Volunteer Centre of Guelph-Wellington (new location)– #1, 46 Cork St. E.
Planet Bean (new location) -2 Wyndham St.
Podd Designs (new location)– 50 Carden St.
River Run Centre– 35 Woolwich St
Thomas Video (organ outside, player piano inside)– 60 Baker St
Tithorea (new location)– 99 Norfolk St.

We would like to thank all the host locations for their enthusiastic participation. We also want to thank Guelph Arts Council, Downtown Guelph Business Association, Sleeman Centre and the City of Guelph for their kindness.

Hope to see you out bangin’ the ivories.

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Last weekend for @DowntownGuelph Spring Basket Contest

It’s the last weekend to participate in Downtown Guelph’s Spring Basket Contest. Collect your cards and stickers at many fantastic shops and restaurants including @thomasvideo. Cheers and enjoy.

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What Oscar nominations are on video @thomasvideo

mad max
Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST PICTURE

The Big Short
Bridge of Spies February 2
Brooklyn March 15
Mad Max: Fury Road Now on video
The Martian Now on video
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight February 23

BEST ACTOR

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo February 16
Matt Damon, The Martian Now on video
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs February 16
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl February 23

BEST ACTRESS

Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn March 15

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight February 16
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies February 2
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight February 16
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl February 23
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs February 16

DIRECTING

Adam McKay – The Big Short
George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road Now on video
Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
Lenny Abrahamson – Room
Tom McCarthy – Spotlight

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Anomalisa
Boy and the World
Inside Out Now on video
Shaun the Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There Now on video

COSTUME DESIGN

Carol
Cinderella Now on video
The Danish Girl February 23
Mad Max: Fury Road Now on video
The Revenant

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Amy Now on video
Cartel Land
The Look of Silence Now on video
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Winter on Fire

 

MAKEUP AND HAIR STYLING

Mad Max: Fury Road Now on video
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared Now on video
The Revenant

ORIGINAL SONG

“Earned It” – Fifty Shades of Grey Now on video
“Manta Ray” – Racing Extinction
“Simple Song #3” – Youth
“Til It Happens to You” – The Hunting Ground
“Writing’s on the Wall” – Spectre February 9

FILM EDITING

The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road Now on video
The Revenant
Spotlight
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Embrace of the Serpent
Mustang
Son of Saul
Theeb
A War

ORIGINAL SCORE

Bridge of Spies February 2
Carol
The Hateful Eight
Sicario Now on video
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

PRODUCTION DESIGN

Bridge of Spies February 2
The Danish Girl February 23
Mad Max: Fury Road Now on video
The Martian Now on video
The Revenant

VISUAL EFFECTS

Ex Machina Now on video
Mad Max: Fury Road Now on video
The Martian Now on video
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

The Big Short
Brooklyn March 15
Carol
The Martian Now on video
Room

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Bridge of Spies February 2
Ex Machina Now on video
Inside Out Now on video
Spotlight
Straight Outta Compton Now on video

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Carol
The Hateful Eight
Mad Max: Fury Road Now on video
The Revenant
Sicario Now on video

“Making My Way Downtown” #HappyMaking Piano Performance in Guelph

Thanks to Dustin Dolby and Sarah Gray.

#HappyMaking Street Pianos in Downtown Guelph.

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Guelph’s #HappyMaking public piano project returns to the downtown

The following article appeared in the Sept 1 edition of the Guelph Mercury.

Guelph’s #HappyMaking public piano project returns to the downtown

happymaking 2015 merc

The streetside pianos are back in downtown Guelph.

As part of the annual #HappyMaking project, 11 pianos will be scattered throughout the core outside of the following businesses and organizations: Grey Rock Clothing Co.; Thomas Video; Flour Barrel; Budds; Shakti; Wyndham Art Supplies; River Run Centre; Guelph Community Health Centre; and, the main branch of the Guelph Public Library. Guelph Transit will host two pianos, one at Platform #12 and the other in the transit shelter near the fountain in St. George’s Square.

Thomas Video owner Ian Findlay started the initiative in July 2013. He did so by placing a piano on the sidewalk outside his Baker Street business and encouraged passersby to play the instrument and decorate it with markers.

The popular campaign has since become one that partners with the Downtown Guelph Business Association each September.

The pianos will be available and free-of-charge for anyone to play during daytime hours as of Tuesday. However, they will be locked and covered overnight. On Sept. 30, the pianos will be rolled away for another year of storage at the River Run Centre.

#HAPPYMAKING PIANOS BACK ON DOWNTOWN STREETS FOR SEPTEMBER

Downtown Guelph Business Association press release.

2015 HappyMaking Poster Snip

The streets of downtown Guelph will once again come alive with the sound of music for the month of September.

Eleven pianos will be scattered throughout the downtown core outside of the following businesses and organizations:

Grey Rock Clothing Co., Thomas Video, Flour Barrel, Budds, Shakti, Wyndham Art Supplies, River Run Centre, Guelph Community Health Centre and the main branch of the Guelph Public Library. Guelph Transit will host two pianos, one at Platform #12 and the other in the transit shelter near the fountain in St. George’s Square.
The brain child of Ian Findlay, the #HappyMaking project started with a simple idea in July 2013. Findlay, owner of Thomas Video on Baker Street, placed a piano on the sidewalk outside his business and encouraged passersby not only to play the instrument, but also to decorate it with markers. The response was so positive that Findlay decided to partner with the Downtown Guelph Business Association to place eight pianos around downtown for the month of September.

The pianos will be available and free-of-charge for anyone to play every day starting September 1st, although they will be locked and covered overnight. On September 30th, the pianos will be rolled away for another year of storage at the River Run Centre.

Play. Tweet. Share. #HappyMaking

More information about the #happymaking project can be found here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5b2kX3uE9oM