Welcome to Black Dog’s new and (hopefully) improved blog. We aim to entertain and inform you on all the comings and goings at the store, on the big and small screen and whatever else tickles our fancy. Please enjoy responsibly.

A Look Back, A Step Forward!

As the sun sets and we lock up the gate for the last time, I thought it might be of cool to look back where all this started. And why. And how…

The year was 1995, Batman Forever wormed its way into top spot in the theatres, “I’d Lie for You (And That’s the Truth)” by Meatloaf topped the musical charts and this fresh-faced, 30-year-old kid with a full head of hair, just got off the boat from Ontario.

After moving into the lovely Cambie hood (rented an entire house for $1100!) I became quickly disillusioned with the lack of quality video stores in my neighbourhood. I would spend 45 minutes in (shudder) Blockbuster or Mega Movies and leave empty handed. Ugh. What’s a movie lover to do? After consulting with my friend/guru Larry on a road trip through the southern US (won’t be doing that again anytime soon), I decided to try my hand at opening my own business. Was I nuts? Maybe! What did I know about running a business? Nothing! Except that I knew a bit about film, and I also knew what kind of shop I wanted to present to the public. Something I thought was cool. Something comfortable, safe and welcoming. A little piece of me.

March 5, 1996, saw the official opening of Black Dog Video on Cambie Street. Armed with 800 movies in my arsenal and a floor covered in Astroturf, we were a hit right off the bat! I remember staying up into the wee hours of the morning the night before getting “dog biscuit tags” ready. I thought it would be a neat idea to write the movie numbers on dog biscuits that folks could bring up to the desk to get the corresponding movie. What I did not anticipate was the dog that came in 20 minutes after opening who ate 5-6 of these “tags” before I could stop him. Oh well. Still a great day!

Two years later we moved across the street into a bigger and better location. Business took off quickly and we added hundreds and then thousands of more films to the collection. I put a request book on the desk and was promptly flooded with tons of great suggestions and it became an invaluable part of the shop. I learned very quickly that my film knowledge was not as great as I thought it was.

We had many ups – late night parties, a fund-raiser were 2 guys played Asteroids in the shop for 24 hours, an art gallery in the front window, did I mention parties? – and downs – the passing of our good friend, John Skibinski was a terrible shock. Still miss that guy. The fire in 2004 that destroyed our VHS collection and put us out of business for a few months (it turned into a bit of a blessing as we replaced the tapes with DVDs with the insurance money). The “Rav Hole” construction slowed things down (and cracked the shop’s foundation) and then ultimately the advent of the mediocre streaming services finally sealed the deal. But not before we opened a second shop…

The year was 2005, Star Wars Episode Whatever ruled the box office, the Black-Eyed Peas “My Humps” dominated the airwaves and I was about to welcome two fresh babies into my life. The first was in the form of an actual human flesh baby – my awesome sprog, Gus. The second was in the form of an unwanted, neglected trash baby that was a previous video store on Commercial Drive which we took over that fall.

The Cambie shop had been humming along for 9 years to much success but was a little hesitant about opening another shop on the Drive as there was already four or five video stores here.

But my fears were to be unfounded as this shop was an even bigger hit then the Cambie location (sorry other Drive video stores). Things were good (for the most part – a rock through the front window on Christmas morning wasn’t as much fun as it sounds), we had bought a house in the hood and we had a good staff to help me navigate the strange, edgy East Van crowd. It was a wild and crazy time. I could tell you stories.

Fast forward almost 17 years later and here we are. The end of an era. The writing seemed to be on the wall when all the other shops around town started closing about 10 years ago. Stupid, lame streaming services was to be the undoing of us all. Convenience wins out over quality once again. I was going to close the Cambie shop during the pandemic in 2020 but one of my employees, RJ asked if he could buy it and give it a go. Who was I to say no? I could have made a lot more money shutting it down and selling the stock, but I would have rather seen it go into good loving hands.

A couple of years later, the pandemic still pandemicing, the subsidies and grant money that kept us afloat for the past couple of years dried up, and business kept heading in the wrong direction. It was time.

Closing the shop was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. It broke my heart. As it did the long-suffering staff. And a lot of customers. The response, the outpouring of love and sadness was overwhelming and amazing. It touched the grey, dank recesses of this old man’s heart. I was amazed that we stuck it out as long as we did (mainly due to my stubbornness, the amazing selection of films that we provided and the willingness of enough of you lovely folks to help keep the lights on and the doors open. That and the fact my wife had an actual paying job so I could indulge in my dream).

My passion never wavered for this job – even in the face of various hardships. It was the same with the staff, many of whom I’ve become and remained good friends with (of course there were a few duds in there, but they will remain nameless). We just loved doing this job.

What’s next you ask? Well, we’ll still be living online and haunting your dreams. I have quite a few gems to sell and will be adding more swag and films as we move boldly into the future. The podcast will continue, so listen in! And don’t forget RJ over at Video Cat on Cambie (just ignore the awning). Give him your movie love or that will be it for video stores in Vancouver.

I could go on and on about this wonderful dream I had. The fact that I got to live it for over 26 years means quite a lot to me. It’s hard to put into words. I just want to thank you all – all the great staff, all the excellent customers that I’ve met – most of my friends have some connection to the shops – and to Vancouver for letting me be a part of this fine city and its culture. Gonna miss it all fiercely.

 

Hugs and kisses.

Aaaannndd, we’re done….

 

So that’s all folks. Store is closed for good. We will be living online via the website and the socials as we boldly step into the future. Stayed tuned and check in here for updates on what will be happening. I’m going to do up a eulogy of sorts later this week (when I get some energy). Until then, a big heart-felt thank-you to everyone who came through our doors looking for the best films the world had to offer. We love you all!

Two Days Left!

We’re not here to tell you what to do but we are here to tell you that today is the second last day that Black Dog Video will be open. Come on in, share a thought, buy a movie, say goodbye.

Open Noon till 8pm today

and

Noon till 5PM tomorrow.

Movies for only $2!

It’s the last of everything week! Today is the last ever Monday Black Dog Video will be open for business. Grey days indeed. To help put a smile on your faces we’ve put tons of films up for sale for only $2! Two dollars! Come see what we have for you!

#Vancouver #movies #lastdays

Sold out of T-Shirts

So we’re completely sold out of T-Shirts and also sold out of our “classic” Black Dog Video mugs.

We’ll be doing up more of both in the coming weeks to sell online. So don’t freak out!

Thanks for buying all of our stuff!

New Releases now on Sale!

All New Releases are now available for purchase except for the four pictured here as they are late arriving on our shores (they will be available early next week!).

We’ve also extended the rental period for NR until tomorrow so you can scoop up what’s left for the weekend!

 

The Black Dog Video Newsletter: Price Ch-Changes Part II Edition!

 

As we draw nearer the end of days for ye Olde Black Dog Video, there are thousands of films we still need to unload. Tons of amazing titles are up for grabs. I’m constantly amazed how many great films are still left when folks bring them up to the desk to buy.

With that in mind, we’re adjusting our pricing structure once again:

All $10 catalogue DVDs and Blu Rays (so many left!) can be scooped up at the insanely insane deal of 3 for $10! That’s right – buy one get, 2 FREE! Call us crazy!

Any $15 – $25 title – take off $5. Anything over $25 – take off $10!

You’re saving money buying these!

Tomorrow is to be the last day to rent New Releases and on the 16th they will be available for sale. Here’s the pickle – I still have some titles on the way (late of course) and these will not be available to buy right away. I’d like to get some rental action on these first.

Arriving this week:

Benedetta – Black Dog favourite Paul Verhoeven is back with his entry into Black Dog favourite section, Nunspoitation! Yes please.

Everything Everywhere All at Once – Michelle Yeoh stars in this spectacular, fun romp around various universes as she tries to save ours.

Morbius – Everyone’s favourite actor to dunk on, Jared Leto, sullies up the screen with this Marvel entry. Makes Venom look like a Criterion release.

Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent – The ultimate Nic Cage movie! Nic Cage plays Nic Cage (can’t think of a better actor to play Nic Cage) in this post-modern (is that still a thing?) action comedy.

We’re hoping to squeeze in a couple of more podcasts recorded in the shop before we close. Stay tuned.

We also have some shelving units we need to unload. Gimme a shout if you’re interested.

There’s probably more things to tell you about but I can’t remember what they might be. Sad, hectic times at the shop lately.

Hope to see all your lovely faces soon!

Copyright © 2022 Black Dog Video, All rights reserved.

Almost the Last Day to Rent!

Tomorrow (June 10th) is the last day for catalogue rentals at your favourite neighborhood Black Dog Video!

Come on in today and buy Buy BUY! Take $5 all $10-$30 SALE DVDS and BLU RAYS! Take $10 off any titles over $30. Thousands still available! Stock up, winter is coming.

May Madness This Sunday the 22nd.

Less than a week until the end of days (May 22nd) AKA the Crazy-Ass sale at Black Dog Video. Very sad to see our wonderful collection go but happy knowing they are going to good homes.

Here’s what you need to know…

– All catalogue films will be on sale. No New Releases. No TV series (I will not get to price them in time). No Collectibles. The other items will be made available in the coming weeks. The sale will run until we close at the end of June.

– Doors open at noon and close at 6pm (that’s about all we can take)

– You pay CASH (preferred) we’ll pay the tax

– Masks are encouraged to keep everyone safe(ish)

– Because it’s a small shop we’re only letting in a certain number of folks at a time (probably around 15). Please keep your shopping short and sweet. Make a list of things you’d like.

– Please bring your own bags.

– There will not be any deals so please don’t ask

– Please be patient and kind as it’s going to be a trying time for us all. You may not get everything that you want. You can scream into the void after you leave the shop.

It’s going to be a sad/crazy day.

UPDATE for MAY 1st!

UPDATE!

The sale originally scheduled for May 1st has been moved to MAY 22nd! Don’t show up at Black Dog Video expecting to buy our stock today. Not going to happen. Sorry for the inconvenience.