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Local Video Store Turns To Crowdfunding To Keep Doors Open

Cap City Video Lounge

Tallahassee film buffs in search of the rare, bizarre and weird may be in trouble. A local, independent video store and movie theatre is struggling to keeps its doors open.

The Cap City Video Lounge is meant to be a home for all those hard to find cult classics, and the people who love them. Hayley and Justin Hood were big fans of the independent Miracle 5 theatre before it closed in 2011. They came into this store soon after it opened on West Tennessee Street.

“We got Song of the South, Krampus, Life of Brian and The Return to Oz,” they said, laughing. 

They admitted it's a pretty eclectic mix. Hayley Hood says the video lounge does so much more than just distribute eclectic films.

“There’s places to sit, they’ve got a tv, a couch you that could find in your grandmother’s basement. The people are great. It’s just a really good atmosphere, to bring something back like that. Especially for people who…everyone says they love movies, but for people who really love movies,” Hood said.

"I can't tell you how many people come in here, and a lot of them in tears, talking about how much they've missed Video 21 and how much they've missed Miracle 5."

When Star Wars star and cultural icon Carrie Fisher died unexpectedly, store owners Kevin Cole and Qas Jordan hosted a movie marathon in her memory. Cole introduced the film to a packed audience at the store's in-house theatre.

“Tonight’s screening is in honor of Carrie Fisher. An incredible lady. Just as feisty and headstrong and wonderful as the character she made iconic in Star Wars,” Cole said.  

But at a time of incredible change for retailers and film, the video lounge is struggling to stay open. Now the owners are turning to the online crowd-funding site gofundme to call on fans to "Save Cap City Video Lounge".

"We are reaching out for your help and offering some tasty incentives in exchange for your support to keep this one-of-a-kind business alive and thriving," the site reads.

And they’re well over halfway to their $5000 goal. Here’s Cole again.

“Man, I can’t tell you how many people come in here, and a lot of them in tears, talking about how much they’ve missed Video 21 and how much they’ve missed Miracle 5.  How much Tallahassee needs something like this. Needs a community based around art, the truly bizarre, the strange. Coming in here talking about, 'You won’t believe what I saw at Cap City Video Lounge. You gotta check this out',” Cole said.

Even as content floods online distributors like Netflix, HBO, Amazon and Hulu, Cole says Cap City still holding on to its niche in the market.

"I don't want this place to go away. I don't."

“It’s a lot easier to just sit at home and download a movie, or see what Netflix has. But honestly I think people are longing to actually come out and meet new people, talk to somebody, pick up physical media, look on the back, ask somebody for an opinion, see if anyone’s seen it," Cole said. "We got fresh popped popcorn. Get yourself a snack. Sit at the bar. Let’s talk about 967-EVIL, let’s talk about Samurai Cop.”

And Hayley Hood is a fan.

“I’ve been spreading the word around this place at my job. I’ve been trying to tell everyone possible to come here because I don’t want this place to go away. I don’t. I’m so happy that there is a video store back,” Hood said.

As the owners scramble for new ways to finance the operation, the community that has grown around Cap City Video Lounge may be its only hope.