Business closing after 34 years of promoting the best of film arts
The following appeared January 12 in Guelph Today. Thanks Rob.
The idea of closing down his 34-year-old business still gets to Ian Findlay, even with over two months for the idea to sink in.
The former Guelph city councillor announced the closure back in early November. He was emotional and teary-eyed then, and held back tears on Monday talking about an upcoming celebration that will wrap the business up.
The celebration happens all day on Saturday, Jan. 21. There will be reminiscing about the popular shop’s storied history, and the esteemed place it held as a film culture icon for a lot of years.
The event will feature an open stage for performers, performances by some of Guelph’s well-known musicians, including Sam Turton and James Gordon, and a dance party lead by DJ Eccodek (Andrew MacPherson) in the evening.
Friends and members of Thomas Video are invited to drop by.
“It will send it off with a bang,” Findlay said.
He was in the shop Monday morning, getting down to the difficult work of winding the business down. He has placed the inventory of thousands of titles up for sale. Longstanding members of the shop – there have been about 35,000 members over the years – have been buying up bunches of films.
“It’s been really nice to hear all the stories that people have been telling me,” Findlay said, speaking of the public’s reaction to the closure.
Findlay told GuelphToday.com previously that the business cycle for the shop had run its course, and that it couldn’t compete with the web. Even as giants like Blockbuster and Rogers Video were closing their doors about five years ago, Thomas Video survived. But ultimately it could not compete with online services like Netflix.
Findlay said untold numbers of people were introduced to great filmmakers like Federico Fellini and Akira Kurosawa through Thomas. The shop kept a wide selection of great films in stock and was constantly upgrading its inventory with new acquisitions.
But Findlay said that many members have recently told him that they have found other avenues for their entertainment.
“That seems to be the typical story,” he said. “They are sorry to see us go, but they understand what is happening.”
Many customers are now buying up some of the more collectable titles, or a number of titles from their favourite directors, he said.
Findlay started the business at the age of 18. It has been at its current location at 60 Baker Street since 2000. At it height, it held 28,000 titles.
“It’s very emotional, as you can imagine,” Findlay added. “I’ve been brought to tears a number of times. But I know it’s the right decision. The business cycle has completely concluded. Now I’m selling off, and that is going really well. People have been coming in a grabbing armloads of movies. The films are all finding great homes.”