CASPER, Wyo. – On a recent afternoon in a Mills strip mall, Videos To Go owner Odetta Bredenberg, who goes by her nickname Sissy, helps a regular customer locate a favorite movie from the vast collection of DVDs and VHS tapes.
After settling on a couple of videos, he buys two bags of popcorn and walks to his car parked right out front.
Inside and outside of Videos To Go in Mills, it’s as if Netflix and “Tiger King” never existed.
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For some people, that’s perfectly ok.
Thirty years ago, Sissy’s husband ran an electronics repair shop in the same strip mall. When the neighboring video store went up for sale, the couple decided to buy it and run the two businesses together.
They sold the repair shop some years ago and it has since closed, but Videos To Go still lives.
“I don’t think there are very many (video stores) anymore,” said Sissy. “We’re getting few and far between.”
“Usually my weekends are still pretty good,” she said. That’s when regulars come in for the latest movies, popcorn and candy.
“Some of them come in and rent movies they can’t find anywhere else, and some come in for the new releases and maybe pick up an old favorite.”
“A lot of them just like video stores,” said Sissy. “They like to pick up the box and read it instead of watching off Netflix.”
She thinks there might be as many as 8,000 titles in her store, most on DVD but many older titles on VHS.
The old analog VHS format is dead, but some clientele hold a cult-like attraction to them. They do occasionally get rented, but mostly Sissy is selling off the more obscure titles to collectors.
“I’ve had people come in from out of state and buy 40 or 50 tapes.”
Years ago, Sissy and other rental stores bought new releases from studio distributors. Hot new titles would cost $75, and she’d have them a couple of weeks before they were available to the public to buy.
These days she still buys from a distributor, but the prices are what consumers pay and she gets them when everyone else does.
She’s remained open during the pandemic, which has closed many businesses around town and made school children stuck at home. There was an uptick in business after the closures, but that’s tapered off a bit.
“Most of them are just glad I’m open because they just want something to do while they’re staying home,” she said.
Videos to Go is located at 4652 W. Yellowstone Highway in Mills. They’re open Tuesday through Thursday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday through Saturday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. They are also on Facebook here.