With news that the last independent video store, Reckless Video, is closing July 31, I remember the first time I visited in August 2019:
I wandered into the “Reckless Video” store for the first time, because after seeing so much change in Seattle, I Want to hold on to something that’s old. It is the last family-owned video store in Seattle. (The only other video place, “Scarecrow Video,” is a non-profit owned by employees and loyal patrons.)
Opened on Thanksgiving Day, 1990, this video store has survived in the age of Redbox and streaming video. Within the almost 100-year-old converted blue house, Reckless has 30,000 titles. The regular customers have dwindled to about 600 per week, according to a recent Seattle Times article. To keep going, it would be nice to have 800 per week.
As I stepped in, I could tell I had missed going into a video store. Shelves and shelves of DVDs occupied what was once a living room, dining room, kitchen, and bedrooms. The staff must have a sense of humor, too, because the movies weren’t categorized just by the boring titles: Science Fiction, Drama, or Comedy. Some shelves were titled “Weed” (for marijuana-centric films), ” ‘Spoitation” (for cheesy B-movie/action flicks), “End of the World” (apocalyptic themes), in addition to movies broken down by directors, actors, and authors. Yes, there’s even a “Nicholas Sparks” section. Ewww.
My favorite observation: The “Foreign Films” section held movies from far-off countries such as China, France, Eastern Europe, and Africa. But if you look closer, there’s a subsection titled “Ballard.”
There’s a candy coin machine full of Reese’s Pieces, with a label, “E.T.’s Favorite.”
And there are movie lists from each employee’s favorite movies. I imagine they are well-versed in all genres of films. Today, the guy behind the cash register was watching Steve McQueen’s The Great Escape playing on a wall.
Not wanting to leave empty-handed, I decided to rent Machete and its sequel, Machete Kills, with Danny Trejo. I don’t have to return them for eseen days, so I’ll have plenty of time to watch them, once or twice.
Try this place out. You’ll be supporting a local business, and getting a feel of what renting movies was like back in the 80s and 90s. Be…Reckless.
Reckless Video, 9020 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115
— Story and photos by David Carlos
Mountlake Terrace resident David Carlos often submits photos and videos profiling interesting places nearby,