While physically going to a movie store to rent the newest release – or rewatch a cult classic – seems archaic in the world of Netflix and video on demand, people find something nostalgic and comforting about a trip to Pic-A-Flic, which has operated at Pendergast and Cook streets in Cook Street Village for 35 years.
However, the locally-owned store, one of few such outlets left in Greater Victoria, is packing up shop and moving, with a multi-purpose development proposed for the corner lots. The four-storey, 48-unit building proposed by Aragon Properties for the site will feature over 5,000 feet of commercial space, but Pic-A-Flic owner Kent Bendall said cost-wise it just wouldn’t work to come back to a new building.
“I’d still have to move somewhere for a couple years, and the cost of moving and moving back would be crippling,” Bendall said.
He was able to find a comparable location at 1519 Pandora Ave. in the former Gordie’s Music space at Stadacona Centre. While the Cook Street location has 2,000 square feet, Stadacona will give him 1,800.
“It’s perfect; it’s got parking, it’s got space and it’s cheaper,” Bendall said. “It’s a little smaller, but it just means the shelves will be a little bit closer together … We have about 40,000 DVDs in the store, so it’s gonna be a challenge, but it’ll be fun.”
Patrons were finding out about the move on Wednesday, and while some were sad the shop would be leaving the Village, Bendall said most patrons were elated.
“About 95 per cent said, ‘Oh, you’re moving closer to me!’ There may be people in the immediate neighbourhood who maybe don’t make the trek, but there’s so much residential and rental housing around there, I think I’ll be fine,” he said. “Any customer I lose, I’m sure I’ll gain one or two more.”
Jan Henkel got her first Pic-A-Flic membership card in the late 70’s. She moved away and returned years later, delighted to see the store was still there.
“The thing I love about it is all the British and foreign films; compared to any other place, this has the best selection ever,” Henkel said. “It’s sad that now I have to hop in a car now to go to them, where now I could walk two blocks … but, I will make the effort to go there, to Stadacona Centre.”
Bendall has signed the lease for the Stadacona location and is set to open up shop in October 2018.
“I’m grateful that I’m in a position that I’m in a business that’s so beloved, but it’s a little scary, too, because everyone has their memories and ideas of what Pic-A-Flic is and how it should be. So it’s a little daunting,” he said.
“I’m very happy everyone is on board. We’re going to continue to do what we do, be it here or at another location. I don’t see us going anywhere.”
Meanwhile the development, slated for 324-328 Cook St. and 1044-1054 Pendergast St. is still in the review stage by City of Victoria staff. A report on the project has yet to come to council.