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Did Netflix Kill My Local Video Store?

Did Netflix Kill My Local Video Store?

One of the best things about my neighborhood in Brooklyn Heights was the little video store on Henry St called Brooklyn Heights Video, run by Marty (last name, I’ve now learned, Arno), a real cinephile who knew as much about French auteur films as the latest Hollywood release (and always seemed to staff his store with young women of impeccable film taste.) The shop closed a couple weeks ago, and I don’t know why — especially if audiences are preferring video to theaters nowadays. Since the store is no more, I guess I can also say that I loved the fact that there was a copy of Lars von Trier’s “Dogville” there weeks before it was released in the U.S. For foreign and art-house films, there is nothing in the area that came close.

I’ve Googled Marty and I haven’t found any news stories about what happened. I can only suspect that Netflix may have contributed to the closure, since Heights Video catered to a similar “sophisticated” clientelle. According to the Wall Street Journal, Blockbuster might be next. Rental revenues fell 7.9%, reported the Journal, “a sign the long-term decline in the video-rental market is worsening. Consumers are increasingly using alternatives, such as video on demand offered by cable firms or NetFlix Inc., the DVD-by-mail rental service.” If anyone knows what happened to Marty, please let me know.

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Jason Bartholomew

Hello. Regarding your post above about Marty, I use to be a tenant in his building. I have since moved to Dumbo. I certainly miss seeing Marty around the hood. I spoke to him in October and he mentioned he wanted to “retire.” He owned the entire buildin – and he sold it (video store) and all. I lived there for six years and I never knew his home address. So I have no idea where he is now. He was always very private about those things.

So maybe not so much a result of Netflix, but then again who knows. He will certainly be missed.


It’s brutal out there for video stores, little ones in particular. I first worked at one in 1985 while in film school and people were prediciting the end of the business back then. Later I settled into a long-time position at Philly’s TLA Video, embodying the classic video guy model before it became a stereotype. After years of working in the industry, fighting off various challenges, I think that Netfilx and “on-demand” might finally knock off the brick and mortar element for “good.”

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