When the iconic Ken Cinema came under the threat of closure earlier this year, a heartfelt outcry ultimately saved the day. It was hard to imagine our city without its oldest cinema there to offer late night viewings of “The Big Lebowski” in uncomfortable old seats. When it was saved, thanks to new investors and a deal struck with Landmark Theatres, we all cheered and made a mental note to visit the Ken more.
But the Ken’s little brother just a few doors down, Kensington Video, wasn’t quite so lucky. After 30 years in business, the owners of the independent movie rental shop decided to call it quits. Kensington Video will close its doors in February.
“We’ve had a great run for 31 years,” said Guy Hanford, co-owner of Kensington Video. “Like many things, technology or changes in our lifestyles have changed the way we shop and that’s what happened to the mom-and-pop video store.”
Hanford purchased more than 75,000 titles for the shop over the years, all of which still line the walls. The advent and popularity of Netflix, Hulu+ and other streaming services may have been the ultimate cause of death for Kensington Video, but there’s no bitterness from Hanford.
“There’s no resentment whatsoever,” he said. “I understand it. Times change, and I’m a big believer in technology. I do feel saddened because with technology you lose something about the way you used to do things. The days of the mom-and-pops are slowly dying. A lot of people have come to us and felt embarrassed or ashamed that they didn’t visit us more but we don’t resent it. We’ve had a great ride, watched a lot of great movies and I was able to put my children through college while working here.”
Instead of succumbing to the big technology monster, however, Hanford said Kensington Video will remain online. They’ll keep many of their titles (others will be sold) and plan to start an online rental service.