Everything Must Go

It was always tough to rent a movie at Discount Video. It's about to become impossible.

"I'm not one bit sold on this technology thing," interrupts Bohl. "First of all, if it's a download internet and/or cable satellite download, you not only lose the selection, but the ability to make intelligent decisions based on coming into a storefront. People are not going to sit and scroll down lists of reviews on a website and really come up with any good decisions, in my opinion."

The movie fans of Minneapolis have voted, and they have not voted in favor of Bohl's opinion. The "Going Out of Business" signs went up a couple of weeks ago. Bohl is 54 years old. Hanson is 56. Neither man knows exactly what they'll do next, individually or together, though if they had their druthers, they'd stay on the corner forever, bullshitting about film and life with their customers.

"This is no hype, because we're closing. I could care less," says Bohl, his otherwise blank eyes welling up in the moment. "We really did love our customers. The joy of being here was dealing with the customers. That's not some fabricated thing to try to get people through the door, because the door's gonna be closed. Dealing with the people was fun, because they're all lovers of film, as we are."

"This is our 25th anniversary-dash-funeral," cracks Hanson, whose standard greeting to customers has been, "And how can I make you smile today?"

He unlocks the door. Within five minutes, half a dozen people are browsing the aisles. Hanson and Bohl put their heads down and get to work, filing, chatting, grousing. They're sending their beloved videos out into the world. There will be no late fees this time.

A regular walks in with a gift box of Girl Scout Cookies and cups of coffee. Another came by yesterday with a batch of brownies. Outside, a window-washer glides a squeegee over the storefront windows.

"Still cleaning the windows--that's a good sign," says Hanson.

"Gee, haven't they got something on the internet for that?," says Bohl, with a stage wink worthy of Jimmy Finlayson.

Jim Walsh can be reached at 612.372.3775 or jwalsh@citypages.com

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