Denver’s first video rental store fighting to stay alive

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DENVER -- On the corner of 6th and Downing, it’s nearing the end of an era.

There’s plenty of action on the shelves at Video One, but unfortunately not as much at the register.

“I’ve never actually made a technical profit,” Video One owner Jeff Hahn said. “The money that we do make goes right back into the store.”

It’s been tough times in the video rental business. And it’s no different for the very first store here in Denver, opened in 1984, and now with over 30,000 films.

“Video One is home to me,” said Hahn. “Our customers are like family to me and those two sentiments are basically why I’m here doing what I do.”

It’s more than just a video store for Hahn, who started working at Video One in 2001. The original owners wanted to sell and get out of the video rental business in 2009, so Jeff bought the place.

“All of these other places are closing, but thank God you guys are still here,” Hahn said of the reaction he got from customers when he bought the store. “I didn’t want to go away and I don’t want it to go away now.”

It’s not looking good for the only remaining video rental store in Denver.

“Unless I can create a positive change in here we are not going to be around in a few months,” Hahn said.

The store is a video library, the last of it’s kind in Denver. Jeff is hoping by becoming a non-profit, it will keep the movies on the shelves and the customers coming through the door.

“I’ve thought about this for the last few years,” he said. “Can I make this a non-profit? Would enough people care?”

One thing is for sure, Jeff cares. And he is willing to do whatever it takes.

“It’s certainly not something I’ve done to make money, but to be here and make people happy by doing what we do,” he said. “If people want us to stick around, well we would like to stick around.”

The country’s first-ever video store in Seattle, WA recently became a non-profit citing its use as a video library. It has been successful, and Hahn is hoping he can do the same to save Video One.

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