Just months after downtown Santa Barbara’s popular Video Schmideo closed, another local video store bites the dust.
This time the victim is Captain Video, which for the past 25 years has occupied a space at 1187 Coast Village Rd.
Joe Lombardo, owner of the shop for the past 17 years, said a perfect storm of problems has brought about Captain Video’s closure, though he also hinted that the economy was a major factor. “People are opting for the absolute cheapest way to go,” Lombardo said. And that option is no longer video stores. Instead, Netflix and other online subscription-based services have made getting movies cheaper and easier. Additionally, the store took a hit from the Tea Fire, which displaced many people Lombardo said were regular customers. Lombardo also credits teenage males for the downturn in movie rentals, because now they’re addicted to video games, he said.
Despite the spate of local video store closings, problems aren’t unique to them. Even national chains like Blockbuster are in trouble because of Internet and cable services. Blockbuster just recently announced the loss of $360 million in its fourth quarter numbers.
Unlike the many independently operated area stores that have closed in recent months, a high increase in rent wasn’t a factor in Captain Video’s closure. While rent has been increasing over the years, “even cheap rents couldn’t save us,” Lombardo said.
Lombardo will be holding a liquidation sale of one of the largest libraries around-with roughly 6,000 DVDs and 6,000 VHS tapes going on sale-over the next few weeks, and might be closed by the end of the month. “This is an emotional time for me,” he sad. “I’m going to miss it.”