The primary I Luv Video location opened in 1985 after founder Conrad Bejarano realized in regards to the video retailer idea from his brother. At its most worthwhile, I Luv Video had 5 areas in Austin — however the franchise’s crown jewel stood on Airport Boulevard.
“The Airport (location) … was actually distinctive as a result of it attracted the extra avant-garde, bizarre cult motion pictures. … It actually attracted a variety of range in Austin tradition and group,” stated Bejarano, who additionally based the Ballroom at Spider Home. “That was an actual telltale signal of how video shops had been greater than only a film hub — it was a cultural kind of group.”
The Austin group performed a major half in persevering with I Luv Video’s legacy, from supporting and collaborating within the authentic retailer’s tradition to maintaining its spirit alive by way of the upcoming We Luv Video retailer.
“When (my husband and I) moved right here, I Luv Video made Austin cool and distinctive,” stated Macy Cotton, board chair of We Luv Video.“We lived shut by, and we went most likely two or thrice per week … We acquired an excellent impression of what Austin is like. It actually helped us fall in love with Austin, and we realized quite a bit about motion pictures too.”
I Luv Video’s Airport Blvd. location and group would outlive the franchise’s 4 different shops, which closed over time. Nonetheless, with COVID-19-related monetary strains compounding the already diminished demand for video shops because of streaming providers, the ultimate retailer closed in 2020.
“It wasn’t too shocking since a variety of enjoyable stuff was closing round that point,” stated Ryan Teel, Cotton’s husband and We Luv Video board member. “However that one hit us possibly hardest as a result of that was our weekend, you recognize?”
After the unique retailer’s closure in 2020 left a spot within the Austin movie group, Cotton and Teel thought to spearhead the crowdfunding and normal operations of We Luv Video.
Upon contacting Bejarano with the concept, Cotton and Teel launched a Kickstarter marketing campaign to lift cash for the undertaking. They obtained entry to the library of greater than 130,000 movies he nonetheless owned from the outdated retailer, leading to 828 donations that collectively contributed $112,494 towards the brand new retailer.
In response to an announcement on the We Luv Video Instagram and Twitter accounts, the shop postponed a slated July 1 grand opening to later this month. Volunteers proceed constructing essential components, placing decorations collectively and organizing the huge library to arrange for the re-opening.
“(I Luv Video) was a pillar within the Austin group,” stated Ron Lechler, a We Luv Video volunteer. “There was this enormous void when it closed, so I’m glad to see it crammed with people who find themselves simply as passionate.”
Cotton cited the volunteers’ onerous work and enthusiasm because the driving forces behind the re-opening. She stated the communal help given to We Luv Video is a testomony to the shop’s legacy.
“(The volunteers are) so keen about what they will do,” Cotton stated. “That’s the ‘can-do’ spirit all these volunteers have … and it’s the group effort that’s really serving to us get this off the bottom.”