Tom: Save Seattle’s Scarecrow Video for at least another day

Nov 5, 2013, 12:02 PM | Updated: 1:37 pm
Seattle’s Scarecrow Video has seen a big drop in rentals and is trying to figure out how to k...
Seattle's Scarecrow Video has seen a big drop in rentals and is trying to figure out how to keep things running. (Image courtesy Facebook - Scarecrow Video)
(Image courtesy Facebook - Scarecrow Video)

One of the last holdouts, after all the big video giants like Hollywood and Blockbuster closed down, is facing make-or-break times to stay open.

Rentals are down 40 percent at Seattle’s Scarecrow Video, known for its vast selection, around 117,000 titles.

“Unfortunately, it is a sign of the times that they are struggling,” said KIRO Radio’s John Curley upon hearing the news. “The Main Street stores often are victim of the ability to be able to get the product to somebody more efficiently.”

Video rental services like Red Box, and streaming services like Netflix are becoming the standard in video entertainment. While Scarecrow has a somewhat unique product, in terms of a selection that includes some very hard-to-find, rare titles, KIRO Radio’s Tom Tangney says that is not the type of thing drawing a large number of renters.

“The great thing about Scarecrow Video is that the store had titles you didn’t even know existed,” says Tom. “A lot of the segments are divided up by director, and you can find things like Peter Greenaway’s short films he made in his 20s. It’s that kind of stuff that is so rare and so valuable.”

“The problem is that most of the traffic in there is not for those rare obscurities. You can’t support a store on the rare obscurities alone,” says Tom.

Kevin Shannon, general manager at Scarecrow, says it’s not a just a video rental store anymore, but a community gathering with events like trivia night and movie screenings. He adds that many of their customers come in to buy used titles.

The decline in rentals and sales is the same thing that happened with bookstores, when services like Amazon made it easier to get books from the comfort of your living room, says Tom, who admits the only reason he goes into his local bookstore is because he likes the idea of having a brick-and-mortar store.

“I just try to buy a book or two at the store because I like the idea of having a bookstore in my neighborhood,” says Tom. “It’s much easier for me to get it through Amazon.”

Tom says Scarecrow Video was a great product of its time.

“Fifty years ago, there weren’t videos available and 50 years from now there’s not going to be videos,” says Tom. “For the time being, it was the greatest. All of the foreign film directors that would come through town would stop off at Scarecrow Video and be amazed at what was available to them.”

“It’s a great place, but I do think it’s more like a museum piece now than anything else,” says Tom.

While surprising, Shannon says they have a huge demographic of customers in their 20s buying up used VHS. “It’s an easy way to build a collection.”

Shannon adds, “The thing about rare titles, if you’re a film fan, it doesn’t matter what age you are.”

Developing the business into a non-profit library-type format is something the company is considering if the traditional rental business does not pick up.

Shannon says no matter what, the collection will remain intact. There are no plans to sell off titles to “the vultures.”

In the meantime, Tom encourages “anybody who’s ever seen a video and watched a DVD they like,” to go rent or buy a video at Scarecrow Video.

“Do yourself a favor, do the world a favor, stave off the inevitable one more day,” says Tom.’s Stephanie Klein contributed to this report.

John Curley and Shari Elliker on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to tom and curleyTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 3pm for John Curley and Shari Elliker.

John Curley and Shari Elliker

John Curley and Shari Elliker

phone anxiety...
Frank Sumrall

John & Shari call ‘The Phone Lady’ to help overcome phone phobia

Mary Jane Copps and her Phone Lady brand has been working with companies in order to improve their staff members' phone skills.
19 days ago
Follow @
John Curley and Shari Elliker

Life put in perspective after John Curley’s cabin burns down

John Curley's cabin in Cle Elem burned down. He spoke about how the burning of the cabin, and the death of his friend Dori Monson
26 days ago
Gender pay gap...
John Curley and Shari Elliker

Curley: ‘The gender pay gap is a myth,’ women don’t negotiate

Job listings in Washington must now include salary information. The new law is intended to help close the gender pay gap.
26 days ago
christmas tree...
John Curley and Shari Elliker

Curley: Is it okay to keep your Christmas tree up until March?

For many in the post-holiday season, the lingering question remains: At what point should I take down my Christmas tree?
1 month ago
John Curley and Shari Elliker

Taylor Swift fans have ‘Bad Blood’ over Ticketmaster fiasco

This is Swift's first tour since 2018, with her tour following the record-breaking success of her newest album, "Midnights."
2 months ago
John Curley and Shari Elliker

Larkin: Attack ads from Schrier a ‘sad attempt’ to distract voters

One of Schrier's more recent commercials called Larkin "the definition of dangerous," stating he would "support a national ban on abortion."
3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Tom: Save Seattle’s Scarecrow Video for at least another day