Walking into Nevada City Video is a lot like walking into a treasure trove. Thousands and thousands of DVDs line the shelves and walls, covered with everything from children’s movies to television series, foreign films to classic comedies.
The store’s owner, Debbie Atwell-Tavares, has run the store since 2010. A longtime cinephile, she decided to turn her love for the movies into a business, not knowing then that just 13 years later her store would be the only of its kind for 100 miles in every direction.
“Even Mother Truckers doesn’t carry (movies) anymore,” said Atwell-Tavares. “Everything in Reno closed years ago. I heard a rumor there was still one in Sacramento but I don’t know if it’s true.”
Spending her days surrounded by films of every genre, Atwell-Tavares has earned a loyal customer base, she said, mostly of Nevada City residents.
“The people who live in Nevada City have to go to Brunswick to buy stuff,” she said. “But the people in Grass Valley don’t necessarily come here. Which, they are missing out on good food across the street (at Jernigan’s). Some people do BriarPatch and never even step in Cali (Organics). It’s strange that it’s so small and so close together but so separated.
“One of my customers was listening to KNCO and the DJ was talking about how sad it is that we don’t have a video store in town. And (the customer) was like, what are you talking about?”
“I have a lot of seniors who keep me open,” she continued. “And I also have a lot of families who refuse to raise their kids by the boob tube. But it seems like they’re getting few and farther between. We supplement, instead of being “it.” Say you have Netflix and most of what you want is on Netflix, but your kids have never seen “The Breakfast Club.” Then you’ll come to me. Or the original “Ghostbusters” because that stuff is not rotating on Netflix at the time. People come to me because they have Netflix and they don’t want to get Hulu but they like “The Handmaid’s Tale.” So they’ll come here and rent it. Or they have basic cable where they get PBS, but they don’t want to pay for HBO.”
In her dog-friendly establishment, Atwell-Tavares helps customers with their selection while making a few of her own. While she couldn’t possibly name her all-time favorite film, she enjoys sharing her opinion and making recommendations. She said that by her estimation, post-COVID Hollywood is back to producing quality films, and lots of them.
“It changes, because each year I find new ones that I really like. I love “The Banshees of Inisherin.” It’s hilarious, but you have to have a dark sense of humor because it gets dark. I loved “Nope.” “Nope” is one that’s a crazy sci-fi, horror, western comedy mash-up of all these crazy things. And I am still totally in love with “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood.””
Atwell-Tavares said she essentially just wants the community to know she and Nevada City Video are still there and ready for business. 13 years after taking over the store, she still loves what she does and is glad she can make a living exploring one of her passions. Once a customer there, the former owner took note of her knowledge surrounding movies.
“The previous owner, he was like, ‘you really know your movies.’ He said, ‘well, I am looking at selling the place.’ The price was good. I managed it, but I really didn’t want to work for anyone else. It was one of those things…”
The kind of thing you might just see in a movie.
Nevada City Video is at 108 Argall Way in Nevada City. They can be reached at 530-265-3118, or online at http://www.nevadacityvideo.com. They are closed Wednesdays and Sundays, and open all other days at 12:00 p.m.
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Nobles email email@example.com, or call 530-477-4232.