In an age of Netflix and Redbox and Hulu and Amazon Instant Video and This Super Shady Site My Friend Sent Me the Link To, how does an old-fashioned video rental store like Video Droid survive? Easy: knowing their shit. If you’ve ever pined for the ignoramuses at Hollywood Video to reopen, this isn’t your place. If you’ve ever pined to walk into a store and suddenly find yourself in fervent discussion about John Cassavetes, Akira Kurosawa or Billy Wilder, then look no further. (Video Droid even has a special director’s section for “Alan Smithee.” Film buffs get it.) Often I’ll be looking for something from some forgotten director made in some forgotten year with some forgotten actress, and lo, it shall be waiting for me on the shelf. Or, on several occasions, it’ll be ordered for me. “But I’m only going to rent it once,” I protest. “That’s OK. We’ll put it in stock. Someone else might want to watch it, too.” In fact, this has translated into a new “Customer Picks” shelf—films that were specially ordered just because someone asked for them. How many other stores can you name that let you curate their inventory? Now in a new location but with the same beautifully nerdy passion and massive inventory of both rentals and sales, Video Droid gets two thumbs up. 1462 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa, 707.526.3313.—Gabe Meline
The 25 Days Project is an online series through the month of December spotlighting some of our favorite local businesses. Read more about the project here, and about our commitment to shopping locally here.