Get Reel Video, which has been on the corner of Fifth Avenue and St. Marks Place since 2005, will be closing by the end of the month. A For Rent sign appeared in the front window last week, and then a few days ago the below sign joined it, confirming that the store will indeed be closing. An employee told me that while the closure could come as soon as this weekend, they need to be out of the space by March 1.
Owned by Christine Kim, the store was best known for its wide selection of independent films, knowledgeable staff, and quirky categorization system (Directors, Criterion, and "Movies You Probably Don't Know" were a few). The staff also gave the selection a personalized touch, dotting the stacks with notecards pointing out little-known gems.
"Becoming a member here is more than just joining a video store," Kim told me when I spoke to her back in 2011. "It's like joining a community film club. People come here to hang out, meet, and chat about film. Sometimes I come in and see people sitting on the floor! If we had more space we'd have a coffee shop in here too."
And while she knew that Netflix was certainly cutting into her customer base, there was one reason why it had such a devoted following. "When I ask people why they shop here, they tell me that it's because of the experience," she said. "It's like going to the bookstore. You can browse, read reviews, chat, and get recommendations. Everyone says to increase prices, but I never will. I just want people to see movies."
With this closure, that means that there is only one remaining video store in Park Slope: Video Gallery, on Seventh Avenue.