After 38 years in business, owner Andy Katz is closing Five Star Video. For decades, Katz had been the last man standing, offering patrons a blast from the past: the in-person experience of browsing an aisle for a movie, touching and reading the covers, and listening to movie recommendations from store clerks who carry with them encyclopedic knowledge of obscure titles.
Katz's store houses about 18,000 titles, everything from musicals to documentaries to foreign language film.
"People get lost here. They will start picking at movies. They lose sight of what they're here for," says Katz. "But it's like being a library, and it's recreation for people. They like it."
As streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have grown, video rental stores throughout the country have closed. What have we lost as we moved from brick-and-mortar stores with human-curated collections to streaming services that recommend videos and television shows?
A lot, says Katz.