BERKELEY (KPIX 5) – Despite surviving numerous changes in the way people watch movies, the last video rental store in Berkeley is getting ready to close its doors after nearly four decades.
Andy Katz has owned Five Star Video Rental in Berkeley for more than 30 years. And though it has become a favorite hangout for movie buffs, Katz realizes the writing is on the wall.
“Our clientele is aging and it creates a vacuum on the lower ages, and it’s not being filled,” Katz told KPIX 5. “Younger people wouldn’t be caught dead renting a disc.”
So, this last movie rental business in Berkeley will close in June.
Streaming services have already destroyed the large rental companies, and shops like Andy’s now cater to people looking for lesser-known independent and foreign films.
Richard Dempewolf found “A Colt is My Passport,” the obscure Japanese, film-noir movie he was hunting for, and says he’s sorry that it’s coming to an end.
“Well, I was very disappointed, obviously. Because I had spoken to people here a month or two ago and they thought things were fine,” Dempewolf said.
Katz said things haven’t gotten desperate yet, but he’s facing a new lease and had to make a tough decision.
“We’re doing okay, but we won’t, I think, within the next term of a lease. And so, rather than go out on a low note, I’d rather go out on an okay note,” Katz said.
It’s not okay with Jim McClure. The 85-year old Richmond resident rents about eight DVDs a week and isn’t sure he’ll be able to figure out the internet to watch his movies on.
“This is, it’s the end of my era. This is the era that I’m familiar with is ending, and it has ended already,” McClure said.
McClure’s right, the world has already changed. And Katz said it would be foolish to try to hang on to a beloved, but dying business.
“I don’t want to spend six months in therapy after this is over just to get my life back to normal, and be poorer for it.”
Five Star Video Rental will close for rentals on June 17, but will reopen from July 13-15 to sell off the 18,000 movies in stock.