It's hard out there for a video-store pimp.
Rob Arcos, owner of MOVIES! The Store, hasn't had a stellar summer, sales-wise. He based his 2009 forecast on the previous two summers, but this year has failed to live up to his predictions, leaving one of Houston's coolest independent establishments (and a Best of Houston 2008 winner) in the red.
To make things worse, a certain amount of budgetary leeway is necessary to stock the place with new releases for the much more lucrative holiday months. (As we proactive, paradigm-shifting whiz-kids at Hair Balls say, you've gotta spend money to make money.)
"I've been operating in the red for four months now," Arcos says. "The period that actually sustains me, I'm going into it with a very weak budget."
So Arcos and friends decided to do what any enterprising entrepreneurs would do: throw a fuckin' party.
The fundraising event will go all day Sunday and feature a cash bar, karaoke, games and a raffle. Those unfamiliar with the establishment may find that an odd move for a video store, but MOVIES! is not your local Blockbuster. This is a place where the owner, like a nerdy movie sommelier, is happy to spend 15 minutes helping you select a film. Arcos' enthusiastic approach and the store's community-oriented feel (it regularly hosts screenings and arts and crafts events) have garnered a loyal customer base, even in the age of Netflix.
"I'm totally for [Netflix]," Arcos says. "People ask me all the time, 'Aren't you concerned with Redbox? Aren't you concerned with Netflix?' I'm like, 'Dude, I loooove Netflix.' I have a lot of customers who do Netflix. I'm not trying to take the place of that. I have my own niche here."
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An alternative way to raise cash is by liquidating some inventory (whiz-kid speak for "selling some shit"), but Arcos tells us he'd hate to disappoint customers with a slimmer selection come fall.
"If my recommendations are constantly checked out, it makes it tough," Arcos says. "People are always coming in for the latest and greatest, and that's what I have to keep up with."
If the fundraiser doesn't bring in enough cash, however, that liquidation will have to start next week.
The party goes from noon to 10 p.m. A minimum donation of $10 is requested.