Movie and music enthusiasts trickled into Kim’s Video & Music for one last time on Monday.
The landmark video store was stripped of its normal selection, with the remaining inventory being sold for 75 percent off until the doors closed for a final time at midnight.
“My happiest times were standing there (at the counter) for an hour, being like ‘you have to see this!’” Adam Baran said. The 33-year-old filmmaker started going to Kim’s Bleecker Street location after moving to New York in 1999 to attend NYU, looking for rare films, art house classics and the “super bad.”
Baran left Kim’s Monday with a garbage bag full of VHS sleeves he plans to organize by director and country as an homage.
“I just feel it’s artifacts from the best video store, you know, like ever,” Baran said. “I don’t have a feeling of end of an era, I know there will always be people who are obsessed with movies.”
The First Avenue location is the last of what was once four video and music stores owned by Yongman Kim. Kim’s first location opened on Avenue A in 1987, and the flagship store on St. Marks closed in 2009.
In 2008, Kim’s stopped renting movies, and later shipped the 55,000 collection off to Salemi, Sicily. The films were free with the promise the collection was kept intact.
“It (Kim’s) sort of half died already when the collection went to Sicily,” Baran said. “That was the most heartbreaking.
Richard Toes searched the shelves Monday, and left with a handful of electronic music CDs. Toes, 74, said he started going to Kim’s in the 1980s, to find something other than Top 40 music all the other shops carried.
“All we can do is cry now,” Toes said. “I would trade the 75 percent off it they would stay open.”
Store clerks said a raise in the stores’ rent and declining DVD sales led to the final location closing. But for musicians Adam Hug, 24, of Brooklyn, and Luke Vichnis, 20, who lives in Manhattan, a record shop with knowledgeable clerks one step ahead of you is invaluable.
“It’s like going to a bar and your bartender knows what kind of beer you like,” Hug said.