In the week since we learned about the closure of On 15th Video — the last video store on Capitol Hill — CHS still hasn’t learned what led to closing down the more than 25-year-old business but we have learned more about the man who owned the store, his family’s video business history, and, maybe most importantly, the people in the community who loved stopping by to visit a good, old-fashioned video store.
“It’s really been a valued community asset,” Capitol Hill Housing property manager Billie Abers tells CHS. “I’ve reached out to Lyle.”
“It was shorter notice than we normally like.”
Lyle is On 15th’s owner Lyle Holmes. CHS has attempted to contact Holmes about the closure but have not heard back from him so far.
Customers of the shop have also been left in the lurch with rented movies still in their possession and, for some, questions about just-paid membership fees. But, for most, the writing was on the wall.
“Video stores that you walk into really aren’t the best business any more,” Capitol Hill Housing’s Abers tactfully put it. Others might wonder why Holmes didn’t close the store sooner.
Others, meanwhile, are getting together to mourn the loss and visit with the store’s mostly blindsided staff. Here’s an invite passed along to CHS:
Fans of “On 15th Video” have reserved the back room at the Liberty Tavern this Saturday, September 20, from 4:30 to 7:30 to celebrate the community the store created and thank the staff. If you’re one of the many people who will miss “On 15th Video”, stop in to say hello, say thank you, say goodbye, or just talk about movies.
UPDATE: We’ve heard from one employee who says the Saturday gathering was news to him. Sorry! We should have included information from the organizer who told us he had been able to reach one employee but was reaching out through CHS in hopes of reaching more. You should go. Somebody will buy you a beer! UPDATE x2 9/20/2014 10:53 AM: We just got a message that Saturday’s gathering is canceled.
According to people familiar with the situation, Holmes acquired On 15th Video from his mother. The family had owned the store since the ’90s and also owned other shops in Seattle. In 1998, their company Director’s Ltd. attempted to purchase Scarecrow Video but the store’s founders tried to scuttle the deal after learning about Holmes’s background. Continue reading