After more than 25 years in the city, Fort Collins’ last independent video store is closing.
The beginning of the end for the the Village Vidiot started when construction of the new West Elizabeth underpass started in August.
Last semester, during the heart of construction, Vidiot owner Scott Shepherd set up a campaign to keep the store in business through the closure of the intersection at West Elizabeth Street and College Avenue.
Though the Vidiot was able to raise enough money to survive, it was during that time that the Vidiot’s building got a new landlord.
The new landlord, Shepherd said, bought the building that houses the Vidiot and other businesses like Butters AM Eatery and Panhandler’s Pizza.
According to Shepherd, the new landlord will be demolishing the building, along with St. John’s Episcopal Church next to the Vidiot, to build a new six-story, 400-bed apartment building and a parking lot.
During this time, Shepherd tried to negotiate with the new landlord, but it was futile.
Once he was given a suitable offer to get him out of his lease in the building, Shepherd looked around town for a new location for the Vidiot, but he ran into problems with that, too.
“You can’t just go on Mulberry, you can’t just hit Harmony,” Shepherd said. “You have to go somewhere where (students) will come and see it, and where my existing clientele can see it. We tried a few places that were local… (and) it just didn’t work out.”
You have to go somewhere where (students) will come and see it, and where my existing clientele can see it.”Scott Shepherd, owner
During the search for a new place, Shepherd had a revelation about his business. For the past two years, he has been working a number of hours every week that he says is simply not sustainable for him.
“It hit me that I’ve been working 80 hours plus, every week, it’s just me,” he said.
When he realized that, Shepherd decided that he would just close the Village Vidiot for good.
On Aug. 1, nearly four decades after first opening in Kansas in 1978, the Vidiot began liquidation of its inventory, which ended on Labor Day. Officially, the store will close for good on Sept.25.
Though the store has had all DVDs, Blu-ray’s and other products marked down substantially for weeks, there is still a large amount of inventory.
As of Monday, Shepherd estimated that there were still around 23 or 24 thousand titles still in the store, whereas they had originally had more than 40 thousand titles in stock.
When the store finally closes for good, Shepherd plans to continue selling the rest of his inventory through his dining room, the same way the he began back in the seventies.
With all of that in mind, Shepherd says that he is not saddened by the end of the Village Vidiot.
“If I’d been working 40 hours a week, with a partner, like we had done, I’d be upset,” he said. “Everybody comes in (and says), ‘Oh, I’m so sorry,’ but… I’m good, I’m fine.”
And, after so many years of the business, and having outlasted many other companies and stores that could not compete against the likes of Amazon and Netflix, Shepherd is happy with how successful the business continued, and continues to be, through its end.
Collegian news reporter and CTV News Anchor Stuart Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @notstuartsmith.