April 11, 2022


The front of the store, complete with a return bin, partially-lit sign and my thumb in the upper right corner.

A Brief Tour by D.M. ANDERSONđź’€

I live in Gresham, Oregon, located on the outskirts of Portland with a population of about 110,000 people. As with most suburban cities, video stores such as Blockbuster and Movie Gallery have long-since disappeared, replaced by Dollar Trees, Wing Stops and - because this is Oregon we’re talking about - weed dispensaries.

Those willing to venture 45 minutes into Portland can visit Movie Madness. A somewhat famous place - with its own Wikipedia page -  it’s more of a museum than a video store, displaying props and costumes from many classic films. However, it does carry thousands of titles available to rent, specializing in cult obscurities for the fringe crowd. Additionally, the last remaining Blockbuster store in the entire world is just a two-hour drive away, over the Cascade mountains in Bend. It, too, has become something of a tourist attraction.

But there is one video store left in Gresham… a little hole in the wall called Just In Video, located on the ass-end of a strip mall next to a paint store, so unassuming you’d blow right past it if you weren’t paying attention. Frankly, I don’t see how it is still in business. Sheer curiosity has had me visit the place a few times, and other than a bored-looking clerk, I’ve never seen any customers. What few cars I’ve ever spotted in the parking lot most likely belong to people comparing swatches at Sherwin-Williams.

Visiting Just In Video is like traveling back in time to 1985. With the clerk’s kind permission - actually, an indifferent shrug - I took a few pictures for posterity… 

This is where they announce their new releases. I've always admired their ability to cram so many titles onto  such a tiny sign.

The horror section, which takes up almost an entire wall.
How old is this place? They only rent DVDs (though there were a couple of used Blu-rays for sale at the counter).
The back of the store. All that's keeping this place from being a total blast from the past is the absence of a porno section (though I suspect it probably used to have one).
One of the "newer" posters on the walls, The Final Destination was released on DVD in 2010. Still, it offsets the wood paneling perfectly.

Being an old school boomer who still loves physical media, I felt a twinge of guilt once again leaving the place without renting or buying anything. While it certainly has outlasted all its competition, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before Just In Video, the last game in town, succumbs to Amazon and Netflix’s insidious influence. For now though, it always puts a smile on my face to see it still plugging away whenever I drive by.

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