Well, it’s official: Video Action is closed after around 33 years. I’d been a customer for most of them. When it was announced in mid-November, I had a mixed reaction: part remorse that we’d be losing Video Action, and part surprise that they’ve been able to hang on as the last remaining video rental business in town.
This is where we’d come for all the new releases. In fact, even before many of them would hit the now-popular streaming services, you could find them on shelves ready to rent. Lately, though, I’d find myself stopping in for older movies that are otherwise hard to find.
Once the decision to shut ‘er down was official, things began to go on sale. I walked out with a large stack of some of my favorite movies going back to the 90s or earlier, thrilled to own some of them but sad that they mean the end of an era.
I remember the first day that movies went on sale: it was a Sunday, so I went after church. The place was packed. New releases sold quickly, but I was looking for older treasures.
Before long, the shelves began to empty. Prices dropped, and even more movies found new homes – permanent homes, this time – as December 31st approached. The building had been sold, and during one of my repeat December visits, someone bought the OPEN sign from the window.
I shot a few panoramas for old time’s sake, as I’m sad to see this local landmark go. I’m a big movie fan, but I have to admit that even I had begun visiting the store much less frequently. We view movies differently now, with streaming services and Redbox taking aim at the traditional video store. The fact that we still had Video Action up until 2020 is a noteworthy achievement.
I didn’t know the saddest part of the story until recently: Don Loeks, the owner who founded Video Action in Bismarck and Fargo, passed away recently. I remember wondering if I’d see him during the last month of the store’s operation, but then I heard the news of his passing and it made the closing even more of a sad occasion.
I’m thankful that we had Video Action for so long, thanks to Don’s passion for movies and games. It’s clear that this store was a labor of love for him, and his commitment to that brought a lot of joy to moviegoers in the Bismarck-Mandan area for over thirty years. He and Video Action will be missed.