Updated: Jan 21
I was having a rough day yesterday, and my wife suggested we break free of the house for a while. We got in the car and start driving, with no destination in mind. After we'd been cruising the highway for about twenty minutes, we decided go to Rochester, NY. It was a trek long enough to qualify as a road trip, and we were already headed that way.
As I drove through Rochester's neighbor, the sleepy town of Victor, we passed something so incredible, I had to swing back to get a closer look:
When I saw the place was closed, I assumed it was another casualty of streaming media, like untold numbers of video stores nationwide. I went up to the door and snapped a photo, thinking it was the best I was going to get. 2004's The Secret Window was shelved under the "New Releases" sign, so the shop must be out of business... right?
Just after capturing the murky image, I was met by the store's owner, Joe Lopez. He lives across the street from the store, and was coming out to mow his lawn when he saw me outside. (I was in fact hoping to attract attention, and had a Retro Injection business card at the ready!) He opened the location in 1987, and is still renting VHS cassettes! (The store just happened to be closed due to it being Sunday.) Mr. Lopez, who counts Top Gun as his favorite film, unlocked the door to Maple Avenue Video. When Adrienne and I stepped inside, we were greeted with a time warp. My wife took the pictures from here on out, because I was too excited to focus. Joe told me he was glad to meet someone who still cares about VHS. His store even has Beta tapes for sale!
In the photo below, you can barely see the poster for House II: The Second Story. The best thing about that film was the title.
I was in love with the store's Sony Trinitron! These TVs were a revolution in picture tube technology, and were for years the benchmark of image quality. (I'm a big fan of CRT displays, and have repaired more than a few in my home arcade.)
During Maple Avenue Video's first week of operation in 1987, Mr. Lopez hung up the following posters at the check-out counter. They've been seen by countless customers throughout the store's thirty-one year history.
Of course, I wasn't going to waste the guy's time! I bought a stack of movies at two bucks a pop. The store still rents them, but at this price, why wouldn't you pick up a few? (You can probably tell which tapes are my wife's selections.)
The tapes all have those great rental stickers and genuine sun-faded boxes! I remember renting 976-EVIL when I worked nights at a juvenile detention center. I would hit up Video King every weekday and rent stacks of horror flicks! It's a wonder I'm so well-balanced.
If you're looking to add some tapes to your collection, you can find Maple Avenue Video at 64 Maple Ave., Victor, NY 14564. Or give them a call at 585-924-3990. Yes, the phone number on the tape's sticker is still valid!
After we left the store, we continued to Rochester, and ended up at Eastview Mall. In a case of "right place, right time," we were fortunate enough to see a traveling movie wardrobe display, there for that day only. Photography was restricted, but we were given clearance to snap this picture of me standing next to Marilyn Monroe's screen-worn dress from The Seven Year Itch. Adrienne was excited to see Audrey Hepburn's attire from My Fair Lady. Between this exhibition and the video store, it was our best road trip since we went to see the filming location of Slugs: The Movie.