Two of Vermont’s remaining indie video stores have names that bear witness to their longevity — and their mobility. Just as Burlington’s Waterfront Video isn’t on the waterfront anymore, Montpelier’s Downstairs Video isn’t downstairs. When Terrence Youk bought the Savoy Theater from Rick Winston and Andrea Serota in 2009, he transformed its basement into a second screening room. Downstairs Video moved to 7 East State Street just as Montpelier’s Capitol Video closed its doors — making Youk’s store the city’s only nonvirtual movie source besides Redbox. “Our business went up, like, 45 percent from what it had ever been,” Youk says. Now he can offer cinemaphiles rare films from Winston’s VHS collection while also renting blockbusters to a broader clientele.
SEVEN DAYS: How do you keep a video store alive in the age of Netflix instant downloads?
TERRENCE YOUK: It’s access to bandwidth. A lot of people in the area just don’t have it for streaming. If you’re on dial-up, perusing the Netflix catalog can be torture. There’s also a certain percentage of people who like to walk around and pick up something physically. I’d like to keep it going, because it’s almost like a public archive. We have a lot of things you wouldn’t see in another video store. I really thought [the store] would be over by now, but the truth is, it’s holding its own. We’re not getting rich, but we’re certainly thriving.
— Margot Harrison