Madison’s Favorite Movie Rental Store, Four Star Video Heaven to Become a Co-op
by Aubrianna Willard-Lee, age 14
“If you want this Madison cultural landmark to stick around, start breaking open
those piggy banks!” says the Four Star Video Heaven campaign website.
Movie fans across the country have said that Four Star Video Heaven is the most
acclaimed video store in the nation. The store needs financial help to stay
open. Lisa Brennan, longtime owner, is giving up the store, even though she
loves it so much. She says that she is ready for a change; Brennan has worked
in the store since 2003.
Four Star first opened in 1985 on Henry Street. The store became known nationwide
for its large selection of movies. Four Star later moved to its current
location at 449 State Street. After Brennan’s decision to leave the store, her
employees decided to try to keep it open. Six Four Star employees formed a
legal co-op to take over the operation. They have launched a campaign on
Indiegogo, an international crowd-funding web- site. They had to raise at least
$50,000 to renegotiate the store’s lease by the end of April. They wanted to
tap into the current base of Madison’s customers as well as other movie fans to
try to raise the money.
Video stores have been endangered since
the start of Netflix and Amazon Prime. Hollywood Video and Blockbuster have
closed all of their locations in Madison. But Four Star has managed to stay
open, solely because of the store's human touch.
Most of our brick-and-mortar competition has gone out of business, and we offer
an inventory that just can’t be matched,” said employee Andrew Fox, “Plus, we have a lot of human things,
talking about movies. It’s just a very different browsing experience than being
“People really care about this place very much. It’s been around 30
years and has been doing very good business the entire time, providing
resources they can’t find anywhere else,” Fox said.
While the online campaign didn’t meet its targets, fundraising so far
has brought in enough for a “solid down payment,” said Lisa Brennan in an
email. Brennan also said the co-op is talking with banks about a loan while
continuing to raise money locally with a variety of events.
The Cap Times Newspaper]