Updated: Vidiots, the rental store for film lovers, to stay open

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Photo by: Vidiots Annex


Vidiots will stay open!

Annapurna Pictures producer Megan Ellison and a longtime customer Leonard Lipman have helped secure the financial future of the store.

A new statement was sent out on Monday, February 2:


After the tremendous outpouring of support from the community, Vidiotsis rescued!  It was  overwhelming to read all the testimonials from customers, former employees and film buffs on how Vidiots has impacted their lives.

Major thanks to our two benefactors, Megan Ellison of Annapurna Pictures as well as longtime customer Leonard M. Lipman M.D. After years of barely surviving, we are looking forward to a future of thriving with an increased emphasis on preservation, and education with lots of fun events in the works

We are starting a new tradition of FREE rentals(one per customer)* on Valentine’s Day as a love letter to our loyal customers. We are celebrating our new beginnings with a party.  Come join us for music, food and free rentals on February 14th. Stay tuned!

Santa Monica is poised to lose an institution for cinephiles with the announcement that Vidiots, the iconic independent video store, will shut its doors for good. Co-owners Cathy Tauber and Patty Polinger released a statement today saying the store will stay open until March 31, unless a sustaining benefactor steps forward within the next month.

Opened 30 years ago as a passion project, the store has amassed a collection of over 50,000 movies, some of which are only available on VHS and preserved by the store. The owners hope to keep the collection intact.

When Blockbuster and other big box rental shops came to town, many smaller shops closed, but Vidiots survived and even grew due to the demand for films lacking at the bigger stores.

Vidiots has struggled in the past, and turned itself into a non -profit, offering a space for film-related events.

A video released earlier this month has the history:

LAist reports: 

Although the era of the video store had long passed well before this news, it still always brings sadness to the hearts of people when the last remaining vestiges of the past finally depart well beyond their expiration date. “I do feel that there will be a void in the community. I feel a sadness not just for myself, but a sadness for the small mom and pop community based business that is no more,” said Polinger.

Yes, we have a UFO section. #vidiots

A photo posted by vidiots (@vidiots) on

The full statement is below:

It is with profound regret and sorrow that after 30 years in business, Vidiots will be forced to close on April 15, 2015.

It is no secret to our customers and the community at large that we have been struggling to stay open for the last few years. Please be assured that we have done everything possible to continue our mission but it was not enough to make up for the precipitous drop in rental income—a 24% drop in the last five months alone. Our Board is currently reviewing possible 501c3 organizations that would allow public access to our collection of over 50,000 titles, many rare and unavailable online.

Unless a sustaining benefactor steps forward within the next month, we will close as planned and focus on the future of our collection.

Our heartfelt thanks go to all our generous donors, who through online auctions and direct donations, have enabled us to keep our 30-year collection together. It has been a wonderful journey and we thank all of our staff, past and present, as well as our loyal customers throughout the years for making Vidiots a prime resource for Los Angeles film lovers.

We will continue to rent through March 31, 2015. Any unused vouchers after that point can be used towards a purchase. We thank you all for your decades of support and ask for your understanding during the difficult months ahead. The best way to contact us is through email at vidiotsfoundation@gmail.com

Cathy Tauber and Patty Polinger