If the story of Nelson’s United Video was a movie, Allen Knott knows what the final line would be. “We’re like the Titanic, we’ve gone down,” he says.
The closing credits have begun to roll on a store that has been running for 27 years, but Allen says the time has come to say goodbye.
On his first day in the store, he didn’t even know who Tom Hanks was.
“I thought it had a big future, this industry, in its infancy days.”
Now, the store in Wakatu Square is one of the last eight dedicated video stores left in the country.
In two weeks, there will be seven.
With the rise of online streaming, customers are no longer coming into stores to rent. But they came back on Sunday, for a two-week closing-down sale that saw thousands of DVDs up for grabs at bargain prices.
Customer Gerard McDonnell says the store used to be part of his routine.
“We’d get a DVD out on a Sunday night and we’d all sit round as a family and watch a movie … I’m absolutely gutted.”
Evan Wallace says the closure is “a major bummer”.
“We need one. Still a lot of people use these things, to be fair.”
Dane Lakes says most of the people who come to video stores would be older and might not be able to use the internet.
While the atmosphere is one of nostalgia, customers at United Video cannot help but feel somewhat responsible.
“I do feel a little bit guilty,” says Nicole McKage. “People don’t have any interest in coming into a store anymore.”
What was it though, that made that experience so special?
“It’s the whole person-to-person and social interaction that I’ll miss the most,” says Evan.
Owner Karen Knott says she will miss the customers and the people the most.
“We’ve got to know some of them very, very well. We’ve got a lot of people that come in just for a chat.”
Allen and Karen are unsure what their next venture will entail after the sale, which ends in just over a week’s time.
“I’ll sit on the deck and have a glass of wine and think about ‘what next’ over the next few months,” says Allen.
But he knows what soundtrack he wants to accompany the end of an era – Neil Young’s, ‘Forever Young.’