Posted Tue Nov 15, 2022 at 07:41 AM PST by Bruce Douglas
“Long Live Physical Media!” was the rallying cry heard from The Archive's Instagram account when their second location opened in Aurora, Colorado on October 21st. This new store is for the collectors, cinephiles, and fans hoping to rekindle their love of the local video shop and experience the joy that only a few have experienced visiting the home store in Bridgeport, CT.
For the unaware, The Archive is the brick-and-mortar retail location for the powerhouse home video label Vinegar Syndrome. Their original location opened in 2017 in Bridgeport adjacent to their film preservation facility where the celebrated label restores underground genre films and adult video titles. I had the amazing opportunity to visit the new location in Aurora and speak with manager James Neurath and video clerk Dave Britton about the store, their favorite titles, and what the shop will bring to the community.
Entering The Archive you’re met with a skeleton of Charon with his boat for crossing the River Styx. It's a commanding art piece that marks your transition from reality to the underworld of film collecting. A journey this reviewer made years ago. On the TV above the Vinyl section, Righting Wrongs is playing which caused me to pause for a moment to catch Cynthia Rothrock kicking some ass.
The handmade wooden aisles display rows and rows of Blu-rays, DVDs, and Vinyl records. You’ll find new 4k UHDs from Vinegar Syndrome next to classic titles from Arrow Video, Blue Underground, and Shout! Factory. Used titles also fill in the sections offering customers something extra to accompany their stack of fresh releases. If you’ve got used media you want to part with, give them a shout to see if they’re interested in buying it. In the back you’ll find a t-shirt wall featuring horror classics new and old. Looking up you'll notice an Elvira cardboard stand-up looking down on you from the corner as you peruse the pre-owned VHS and DVD shelves. Looking for a Peekarama title? They got it. Need that new banger from Saturn’s Core? They've got it. It’s a one-stop shop for your genre film needs.
Behind the no-frills front counter store manager James Neurath and video clerk Dave Britton greet the customers pouring into the store. They’re both genuinely nice guys who will talk your ear off about movies and recommend the good stuff. We spent about 20 minutes dissecting the Angel trilogy. Most customers were keeping tabs on the store’s opening through social media. I witnessed the first few people in the store approach the counter with an armload of titles. Wow! Some even jokingly admitted they’ll never tell their spouse that the store exists!
James has been with the company for 8 years working on many titles released by Vinegar Syndrome while spearheading the new store’s development and opening. Dave has been with the company for 6 months but feels right at home helping customers and chatting about flicks. He walked me through the skeleton collection on display at the front counter which is yet another insane detail you’ll find browsing The Archive.
I felt at home in the store. It reminded me of all those video shops now lost to time with the streaming wars winning over the masses. From the eclectic decor to the warming embrace of the staff as you explore the aisles - this place just feels right. “Vinegar Syndrome is always looking for new projects, but we’re still a small company,” says Neurath, “We hope this place allows us to grow and reach the fans of what we do.”
The Archive is located at 1431 Dayton St, Aurora, CO 80010. The building is split between the retail store and a shipping and distribution warehouse space for Vinegar Syndrome. For those living out West, you may find your upcoming Black Friday orders shipping a bit quicker than expected!
As of the writing of this article, the store is open 11-6 on Fridays and Saturdays with plans to expand hours soon. Contact them directly for updated store hours and their used media buying policy.
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