AUSTIN (KXAN) — Two-and-a-half years after I Luv Video announced its closing in September 2020, a new nonprofit is reviving the beloved Austin institution’s at-home movie and TV show rental model.
The newly formed nonprofit We Luv Video will celebrate the comeback of rental services with a soft opening on Saturday at 6 p.m. As part of this return, they’ll rent the first video to I Luv Video’s owner, Conrad Bejarano, per a release.
We Luv Video will offer a reprieve for the business’ video and disc library collection. It comes after the launch of an October 2022 Kickstarter campaign to find the collection a new home, per the release.
In a month’s time, the campaign collected more than $112,000 in donations from more than 800 donors. Macy Cotton, We Luv Video’s board chair, told KXAN it was surreal to see the level of support given by campaign backers.
“We wanted to see a gauge of, is this something that is sustainable in Austin? Is this just a group of people in a silo wanting this for ourselves, or can this be a community effort?” she said. “To really see that outpouring and the love for I Luv Video — all these people from across the world, from Australia and Denmark, of people that had visited Austin and loved I Luv Video and wanted to continue to support it — was incredible.”
The effort is entirely run by volunteers who range from seasoned Austinites to newer residents, she said. Some are well versed in the world of VHS players, while others are a bit on the greener side and have never watched films or TV shows on them.
But what they’re united by is a deep appreciation the magic of the medium and the ability to physically choose the media you’re looking to experience.
“I think that there’s a bit of choice fatigue, sometimes, with streaming services, and that there’s a lot going on there,” Cotton said. “There’s something about going and having the full choice, A to Z, of a whole collection and looking and reading and picking it out with your own two hands, and getting recommendations from a live person that can give feedback.”
Nonprofit We Luv Video signed a lease for a location at 100 E. North Loop Blvd., at the site of the former Vulcan Video store.
The space is set to include “genre buildouts, art and murals, team recommendations, and, of course, movie snacks.” There will also be a small screening area available to support community events, per the release.
More information on the nonprofit, including how to volunteer with it, is available on We Luv Video’s website.