In an era of streaming and virtual — well — just about everything, the beloved video stores we grew up spending hours browsing the aisles of are nearly extinct.
In 2017, USA Today reported there were about 2,000 video stores remaining in the United States. That number, surely, has decreased with video rental chains like Family Video and Speedy Video closing their remaining stores over the last year and a half.
While it’s obviously much more convenient to scroll through your movie options from home, picking up physical copies and deciding whether they’re worth renting was a simple, yet exciting experience. The advent of media streaming now instills a feeling of nostalgia when we set foot in a video store and know we can hold a movie in our hands and pop it into our DVD player, Blu-ray or VCR just like old times.
Despite being the entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles has also experienced a decline in video stores.
To help spread the word about the remaining local video stores, we compiled a list of our favorite mom-and-pop video stores in Los Angeles that all have something different to offer.
So, grab a pen and paper — you’ll want to take note of these! (Or simply bookmark for later, of course.)
5. Go Video
While many video stores have closed their doors forever, Go Video has stayed in business thanks to their strong word-of-mouth support since 1985.
Owner Danilo Munoz initially opened Go Video on Sunset Boulevard then later relocated to their current location in Echo Park 15 years ago.
Go Video is a tightly-packed, no-frills video store that has over 3,500 movies to choose from. Munoz estimates there are a couple of hundred horror titles.
You can rent a movie for $1.00 a day; $2.00 a day for new releases.
You can also grab a snack to go along with your rentals, get a money order and even sign up for a new cell phone plan here.
“Awesome worker. He is always attentive with his job and I have never had any issues here. Lots and lots of new arrivals all the time. Even before they even come out in Redbox.” – Lupe Garcia (via Google)
Go Video is located at 1031 N Alvarado St, Los Angeles, CA 90026. The store is open Monday – Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Sunday hours are 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
For more information, please call (213) 413-0860.
4. Alex Video
This Highland Park video store is quite literally a mom-and-pop shop. Former video store, Video Hut, once occupied the space until its closure in December 2018. Just a month later, Luz and Enrique Rodriguez carried on the video store tradition and opened Alex Video, named after their son.
“My husband is a super fan of movies,” Luz Rodriguez tells Dread Central. “He asked me if we can open a video store one day, and I go, ‘I’m going to support you with that because it’s your dream.’ It was his dream to open one since he was 10 years old.”
Alex Video has over 3,000 movies with DVDs, Blu-rays, VHS and 4K available with up to 500 horror titles. (In fact, Rodriguez says horror is her favorite genre. Her favorite movie is Bram Stoker’s Dracula.)
Alex Video gets new movies every week, so you’re bound to find a title you’ll love. If they don’t have the movie you’re looking for, they’ll order it for you.
A membership is FREE. Rental fees are $2.00 every day. They also sell movies, candy, video games, toys and masks.
They currently have a special deal that if you rent a movie on Monday, you can keep it until Wednesday and not pay the extra day fee since they’re closed on Tuesdays. Customers can rent five movies at a time; new customers can rent two at a time.
Like many small businesses, Alex Video was forced to close for four months last year due to the pandemic. Rodriguez says they’ve had difficulties recovering their previous customers since reopening but are trying.
“I love this place. You can’t find a video store anywhere these days. They have a big selection of old and new movies. You can call to layaway a film. If they don’t have the movie [you] are looking for, Alex will order for you. Thank you on behalf of the Northeast LA neighborhood.” – Rob G. (via Google)
Alex Video is located at 5413 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90042. The store is open every day but Tuesday. Their hours are 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Sunday – Thursday; 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
For more information, please call (213) 481-0996 or visit their Facebook page.
3. CD Trader
Don’t let the name deceive you. CD Trader is known as not just one of the largest record stores in Los Angeles, but also one of the largest video stores in Los Angeles!
Owner David Maples opened the store in 1995. Nearly three decades later, and it’s still standing strong.
CD Trader has an old-school take on how they run their business by offering real, human customer service, as opposed to what they describe as “the cold, impersonal world of social media, phone robot menus and internet algorithms.” When you call, you can count on them to actually pick up.
Their inventory includes over 13,000 DVDs, Blu-rays, 4K and VHS with an estimated 1,300 horror movies to choose from. You’ll find some in their ‘Bargain Island’ section for just $3.00. (They also have some killer horror movie soundtracks if you’re interested.)
While their inventory is vast, they, too, will order the title you’re looking for if they don’t have it.
When you make a purchase at CD Trader, you get a stamp card where if you buy 10 products (at $5.99 or more), you get 1 free (at $7.99 or less).
*Click to enlarge.
“Local favorite, hidden treasure. Been frequenting this place for over 10 yrs. Buy, Sell, New, Used: music, movies, TV Show box sets. All genres of music or movies. From old classics to new releases, B Movies, indie, Disney, action. They got a huge selection & wide variety with good competitive prices [Movies & Music will range from 3.99 to 8.99 and up, depending on the type of movie or music]…It’s nice to see some friendly faces. No snobs or uptight people…Yes, they take credit/debit cards. You can easily spend an hour or more here. I really love this store.” – CMA (via Google)
CD Trader is located at 18926 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, CA 91356. The store is open every day. Their hours on Monday – Saturday are 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Sunday hours are 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
For more information, please call (818) 705-3544 or visit their Instagram page.
Vidéothèque is known as “a place for film lovers.” And that could not be more true. If you’re looking for a unique film, whether it be independent, classic, foreign, cult, or rare, this Pasadena video store is worth a visit.
Plus, if you’re a Halloween fan, you’ll be pleased to know the Myers house and Nichol’s Hardware Store are just a 2-minute walk away. And Laurie Strode’s house? Just four minutes away!
Owner Mark Wright opened the store in 2003 after living in Paris as a French major and working as a video store clerk post-graduation. Since opening a store of his own, Wright has maintained a thriving brick-and-mortar business even in a digital age thanks to his knowledgeable staff and loyal customers.
With a library of over 40,000 titles old and new, Vidéothèque makes browsing an enjoyable experience for guests by categorizing films by filmmaker, genre and decade.
They are estimated to have over 1,000 horror titles and have everything from Mexican horror and Italian horror to ‘60s and ‘00s horror.
Vidéothèque has movies that are not only available to rent but also to purchase. The store sells cinema posters, t-shirts, CDs, vinyl and books as well.
A membership is free. All rentals are $4.95. You can keep new releases for three nights and main catalog titles for seven nights. Late fees are $1.00 each day overdue. You can also save money with their prepaid rental packages.
“We dropped by this shop on a whim, almost 2 decades ago & since, we’ve become HUGE fans of this awesome place! Cool, very amiable & knowledgeable staff to assist you with your queries & needs. Popular & rare movie titles, favorite actors, directors, documentaries – you name it! Need a thoughtful gift . . ? Audio, hard to find movie posters & memorabilia from around the world, can be found here! This is the stuff that cinema / audiophiles most definitely appreciate! – & within walking distance from some other great shops & places to get a bite while you’re at it! To our fellow video/audio lovers – ENJOY!!!” – J. Gomez (via Google)
Vidéothèque is located at 1020 Mission St, South Pasadena, CA 91030. The store is open every day from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
For more information, please call (626) 403-6621 or visit their website.
1. CineFile Video
If you’re a movie buff, you’ll be like a kid in a candy store when you stop by CineFile Video.
CineFile has over 50,000 titles available to rent with about 2,500 horror titles to choose from. They even have specialty sections like “Big Goofy Monsters,” “Holy Fucking Shit” and “Scared Silly.”
It is the last movie store in Los Angeles where you can buy, sell, trade, rent or donate your DVDs, Blu-ray, vinyl, VHS and Laserdiscs. Here, you’ll come across 30,000 movies that you won’t find on any streaming platform.
CineFile Video was founded in 1999. In 2013, it nearly shut down until Sebastian Mathews purchased it to continue its mission to collect, curate and rent rare, excellent films across all genres and keep it open for ‘Analog Alley’ (i.e. the retro block it’s located on) and its devoted community.
“The success of the shop can be attributed to a few different major factors. First, we are basically the last indie movie rental serving LA,” Mathews tells Dread Central. “Next, we have been around for so long that we have a lot of name recognition, especially within the film industry. We have a lot of directors, producers, actors, writers and agencies that make us their go-to. Before working with Claire Denis, Robert Pattinson came to the shop and rented her entire catalog! Finally, we try and keep things simple…We have the movies, we have the employees that know all things film, and we make sure great customer service is our top priority!”
Memberships start at $5 per title with a one-time $5 sign-up fee. You can keep library titles for a week; new arrival titles for two days. Late fees are $2.50 per day, per title. (Or you can opt for a $30 monthly membership to keep rentals for a month, exchange as often as once per day and with no late fees.)
“Honestly 5 stars for the nostalgia alone. There is nothing that compares to walking around a video store and looking for that perfect film. In the age of streaming, it’s pretty cool that this place exists… All the people that work there are very nice. They’ll give you great recommendations if you ask. They’ve probably seen every movie in there. Often times we’ll look at what they have playing and then end up renting that film.
You can also get really cheap used DVDs and they also have some great merch. Love this place!” – Joleena H. (via Yelp)
CineFile Video is located at 11280 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90025. The store is open every day except Monday from 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
For more information, please call (310) 312-8836 or visit their website.
Other video stores to keep on your radar & support:
Eddie Brandt’s Saturday Matinee – It doesn’t get any more mom-and-pop than “the best video store in the world” known as Eddie Brandt’s Saturday Matinee. The family owned and operated video store opened in 1969, but unfortunately, closed last May due to the pandemic. Eddie Brandt’s was an L.A. landmark once visited by stars like Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jimmy Smits, Iron Eyes Cody, Gene Hackman, Larry Crabbe, Kirk Alyn, among many others. Their massive library included over 50,000 titles with more than 2,000 horror films. They also had the largest archive of movie, television and news photos.
While Eddie Brandt’s Saturday Matinee is planning to return, they shared via Facebook that “there are lots of elements that have to be in place for that to happen.” You can support them by purchasing prints here.
Video Z – Owner Nolie opened Video Z in 1993 with his family. Over the years, the store has built an incredible library and loyal customer base. Due to the pandemic, Nolie is currently a one-man band who is in the process of gathering more movies to prepare for a reopening that is yet to be determined.
Video Z is located at 1460 W Temple St. Los Angeles, CA 90026.
Vidiots – Two friends, Patty Polinger and Cathy Tauber, opened Vidiots with 800 VHS tapes and a tight budget in 1985. The monumental women-founded and women-run video store was forced to close in 2017 but is planned to make its return this year. This time, in a 11,000 square foot space in Eagle Rock as a theater, video store, cafe and community hub with a library of over 50,000 titles.
For updates on Vidiots, please visit their website here.
What do you miss most about video stores? And do you know of any other mom-and-pop shops we can add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!