NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY/AP) — One of the largest video collections on the East Coast is launching a fundraiser to try to stay open.
Naro Expanded Video Archival Library in Norfolk will conduct the last-ditch campaign on Kickstarter on Aug. 28.
The store — which is on Colley Avenue in the Ghent area — has been open for more than 20 years and became a nonprofit last year.
During 10 On Your Side’s visit Tuesday, we found President and CEO Tim Cooper following his Tuesday protocol, setting up the new releases.
“Most of these are new today,” he told our Brandi Cummings.
Each movie, including today’s new releases, has a distinct spot. Some sections have more space than others.
According to its website, there are more than 42,000 titles in the store’s library. This includes newer titles as well as older films dating back several decades.
“We order foreign films, art films, you name it. If it’s good, we’ll have it,” Cooper said.
Retired ODU Professor Dr. Gilbert Hoy and his wife rent movies weekly. They’ve been customers for nearly three decades.
“I think it’s a great store because you have so many of the classics,” Dr. Hoy said.
By the looks of things, you’d never know the future of the Naro Expanded Video Archival Library is in jeopardy.
“The challenge now is to do enough business to stay open,” Cooper said.
It’s difficult for a brick and mortar store to compete in a digital world, with on-demand services making anything accessible with the click of a button.
“We need to lure people or lure people back because I think we offer many things a streaming service or Netflix or Redbox doesn’t have,” Cooper said.
The Naro video store has been around 28 years. They are the second largest store like this on the East Coast, but their massive titles just haven’t been enough.
“We’re a dying breed and we’re holding on as best we can,” Cooper said.
He told Cummings they’ve lost a third of their once thriving business.
“Could be a lot worse, but it’s still not quite enough to make the nut for each week,” he said.
Cooper and his wife have donated thousands of their own money already. They partner with the movie theater, Nextdoor and last year, they even became a nonprofit, trying to salvage the business.
This month, they’ll launch an online campaign to raise $25,000 as another effort to keep the doors from closing for good.
“If we don’t make the money, that is our goal,” Cooper said.
The online campaign officially starts at the end of the month. You can donate now by clicking here.