The Video Fan can finally take the “for lease” sign out of its window.
The 30-year-old video rental shop has signed a lease that will allow it to remain at 403 Strawberry St. for at least the next year. The shop’s owners signed the one-year lease in mid-February, following a fundraising campaign in November that helped it stay afloat.
“That was real psychic baggage for me, the fact that we had to leave the sign up until it was done,” General Manager Andrew Blossom said.
The money raised – which exceeded the $35,200 goal by more than $2,000 – will allow the shop to pay this year’s rent on the 1,500-square-foot space.
“It was my first experience with commercial real estate. I thought it would go very fast, and instead it took two and a half months,” Blossom said. “Everyone was lovely, it got done in the end, it just took longer than we expected.”
Read Goode and Cheryl Toy of Divaris Real Estate handled the leasing process.
The new lease runs through February of next year and should give Blossom enough time to secure nonprofit status and start fundraising for the following year’s rent, between $24,000 and $25,000.
Those future fundraising efforts will include hosting public events like movie screenings and concerts. Blossom said he is also quickly learning how to apply for grants.
Blossom said he expects to complete the transition to a nonprofit in a matter of months. He has reached out to a few local people familiar with the process for help, including Prabir Mehta of Gallery5 and Shelley Briggs of Books on Wheels.
“Things are starting to look positive,” Blossom said.
In the meantime, the fundraising campaign and outside donations have allowed the store to expand its video library, which consists of 40,000 titles. The shop brought in 150 new titles that had been lost over the years or continuously requested from customers.
And Blossom and owner Doug McDonald are preparing to renovate the store’s interior, moving things around to create new sections and add more shelf space. That should start within the next two weeks.
“I feel like we’re still working in steps,” Blossom said. “But we have one year, and now the next step is the next year, and I guess the next step is finishing everything up for the year after that.”