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Credits roll on Talent video after 30 years

Video Quick, a Talent fixture for 30 years, will close its doors June 7. The business is selling off its inventory but still offering rentals at 100 W. Valley View Road. It has about 8,000 DVDs and 800 Blu-ray selections.

“It was my clubhouse. It was my dream,” said Danielle Bell, a lifelong movie fan who wanted to share her passion with others. She bought the business three-and-a-half years ago but has worked in it for 13 years.

Competition for video stores comes from a variety of sources, including on-demand cable shows, internet streaming services such as Netflix, Red Box vending machines and video offerings at public libraries, said Curt Thompson, who owned the business from 2004 until he sold it to Bell.

“I bought it right at the peak — 2004 was considered the biggest time for video rentals,” said Thompson.

For most of its life the store was located on the corner of Highway 99 and West Valley View Road along with a convenience store and a barbecue spot. Building owner Alton Rhodes may have started the business, said Thompson, and Kirk Johnson owned it for about 12 years before Thompson acquired it.

Bell had up to 70 regulars who came to the shop daily or every other day to get selections. Some customers would tell her what sort of mood they were in and ask her to suggest a movie. She’d judge based on what they were saying, describe movies and wait for the “Oh, I want to see that” moment.

Most of the titles are going for $5, but Marvel movies, Disney Vault Collection and series have higher prices. Movie memorabilia, including stuffed characters Shrek and Bart Simpson, and a model Batmobile are for sale. There are also four VHS tapes.

“I’m a compulsive movie buyer,” said Bell, explaining that she would get titles she saw at sales or elsewhere if a customer had mentioned a movie.

“Before she came to work, she had watched a million movies,” Thompson said of Bell. “She was very outgoing and, of course, had a lot of movie knowledge.”

Bell completed an associate degree in computer coding at Rogue Community College while working at the store to help with setting up a website.

The Goober Gallery, a review of upcoming releases and other movie information, was Bell’s creation. It was published biweekly before it was incorporated into ads in the monthly Talent News and Review.

Bell and Thompson moved the store to its current spot when the sale took place. It was a fortunate move, because the highway location was subsequently sold to the town’s urban renewal agency and torn down, said Thompson.

Over the years Bell learned the business was unpredictable day by day.

“It is so hard to predict. Even after 13 years of experience I can no longer predict the surges and whims of what may or may not happen,” said Bell.

Business revenue for the first year after the move exceeded that for the last year at the previous location, said Bell. But in subsequent years it declined steadily resulting in employee layoffs. She now runs it alone and is open from 4:30 to 9 p.m. daily.

“It was never meant to be a one-person operation,” said Bell. The job required someone to keep up on media trends and to follow the movies and increasingly more popular made-for-TV series. The store previously had two or three employees and operated from noon to nine, later on Saturdays.

In-store and outside displays highlighted holidays and the Oscars awards. Bell painted symbols of the five armed services in the large middle window facing Valley View Road.

“A nice part was to see a lot of the families grow up, and then they would have kids,” said Thompson. “That was very enjoyable.”

Bell said there are still video stores in Eagle Point, Rogue River, Shady Cove and Ashland. A Google search for “Medford, Oregon, video rental stores” shows Video Quick at the top with listings only for an adult store and a game store as other best matches.

Bell said it would have been smart to move the business to Medford at the time of purchase, but she wanted to remain in Talent to serve the community and retain employees.

“Records made a comeback. Maybe video will in the future too,” said Bell. In the meantime, she’s exploring options for disposing of what will remain from the collection over the internet.

Reach Ashland freelance writer Tony Boom at tboomwriter@gmail.com.

123rf.com Video Quick, a Talent fixture for 30 years, will close its doors June 7.