Former police shooting gallery now one of last independent video shops on Peninsula

PORT ANGELES — The Movie House DVD rental shop — one of the last independently owned video rental shops left on the North Olympic Peninsula — used to be the Port Angeles Police Department’s shooting gallery.

Now it’s “about the stupidest business to get into.”

Movie House owner Rick Moon is joking about that last bit — at least partly, since he knows how pervasive Netflix and the Red Box video-rental kiosks have become.

The other part, however, is true. The city’s officers had target practice and their locker room in the Movie House space: the basement on the corner of West Front and Oak streets.

The building was the police station and jail during the 1950s and ’60s, said Don Perry, the Port Angeles deputy mayor who’s also a historian and downtown Underground Tour guide.

The news here is that Moon, who also has Peninsula Pawn Brokers upstairs from the Movie House, is renting out some 6,000 movies on DVD for 99 cents per night.

He’s hoping to lure at least some video viewers down into the Movie House by offering everything, new releases included, for just under the $1 the Red Box videos cost.

Other independently owned video rental shops left on the Peninsula include Vasu Video & Electronics at 1030 Lawrence St. in Port Townsend and Star Video in the Port Angeles Plaza at 1940 E. First St.

“We want to keep it local,” Moon said, “and we want to keep it a penny less than Red Box.”

Moon didn’t have to go far to stock his basement shelves.

“I had thousands of DVDs to begin with,” Moon said last week.

“We buy them all the time at the pawn shop.”

To fill the new-releases wall, Moon purchases movies such as “The Hangover Part II” and “Crazy, Stupid, Love” at Walmart.

He also bought the Movie House sign from the video store that used to be located at Sixth and Lincoln streets.

Steven and Donna Hoyt bought that shop from Blockbuster Video in March 2010 and ran it for about 15 months before going out of business last summer.

Moon said he went in to buy the shelving there and ended up taking the sign home, too. He said it cost about $250, a considerable savings over a new sign.

On the old Movie House’s Facebook page, an Oct. 27 post says the Hoyts have “absolutely nothing to do with the ‘re-opening’ of the Movie House on Front Street.”

The Hoyts could not be reached for additional comment Friday.

Moon’s Movie House, after weeks with a “coming soon” sign up, opened three weeks ago, with his wife, Janice, staffing the rental desk.

“We’re hoping to get more customers,” said Janice, adding that all one needs is a current, local driver’s license to rent one of the DVDs or video games.

The display shelves are diverse: from sci-fi flicks to whole seasons of “Sex and the City.”

Among the most popular new releases this month, according to the Moons, are “The Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “Super 8.”

The Movie House is open from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

________

Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3550 or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

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