Residents from around Madison attended Four Star Video’s launch party Saturday at its new W. Gilman St. location.
Customers young and old lined the video store’s narrow walkways, browsing recently-refurbished shelves of VHS tapes, DVDs and displays. A DJ played music from the backroom as friends and family pulled case after case from the neatly arranged rows marked “Comedy,” “Horror” and “Anime.”
Four Star Video, which was established in 1985 and was previously located on North Broom St., moved to the smaller space back in December to make the store more sustainable, also allowing it to save on rent and utilities.
A student at the front counter offered Lewis Peterson, the owner, her Wiscard at the front desk as her proof of ID to begin renting from Four Star’s vast library of over 20,000 titles.
With several owners stepping away from the business to pursue other careers, Lewis Peterson is the only owner that remains out of the original four.
“One reason why we took our time with setup and having an official grand opening party is that we wanted the store to be in a condition that would be intelligible to someone who wasn't super familiar or coming from the expectation of the old store setup, while still retaining continuity for our longtime customers,” Peterson said.
Even though Four Star finished moving into the new location within the past couple of weeks, Jason Heussner, a volunteer, said that the business has plans for a future renovation — if all goes as planned, the store will turn a storage room in the back of the store into a screening room.
Heussner and Peterson hope these screenings will give the store more community recognition, which could lead to an increase in their customer platform.
In order to secure funding to move to a new location, Four Starr initially reached out to the community for help. Altogether, the crowdfunding initiative and several film screenings raised nearly $4,500.
Once a cooperative — now a private business — Four Star still relies heavily on volunteers.
Peterson said he depends on help from community members that have a passion for films and movies to help run the store. Ever since the change of location, Peterson, dubbed as the operations manager, has continuously been recruiting and training.
“Right now, we have a small core group of volunteers that are comprised of customers I've personally known for years,” Peterson said. “We're definitely looking to expand our volunteer base, especially to students if they are interested.”