For the past 15 years, Leo's Video has been providing Kelowna with thousands of new and hard-to-find movies.
Now, Leo Bartels is moving on, but he's looking for a similarly passionate person to take over the store.
As video rental stores have all but been eradicated over the past decade, Leo's Video, located on Pandosy Street, has continued to faithfully serve the community day in and day out. Bartels says the sheer quantity of their stock has played a part in that.
“We have 25,000 movies, individual titles, while the Blockbusters and Rogers were like 5,000 or 5,500,” he said. “The content has helped us stay relevant and helped us stay in business. And our tenacity.”
Bartels says they have a loyal fan base at the store who keep coming back year after year, but he says the store offers more than just movies.
“One of the more valuable things about a physical video store is how we can get to know you as a customer and get to know your taste and recommend movies based on that,” Bartels said, adding it can be difficult to decide on a movie when using streaming services like Netflix.
“Even if we don't know you and you walk in, we can have a quick conversation about what you're in the mood for, and me or my staff can help you find something that is tailored to your mood today.”
While Bartels says he loves what he's built at Leo's Video, he's now looking to go back to school, to one day become a high school teacher. He's looking to sell the business to someone who'll keep the store similar to how it currently operates.
“I want the store to last, I want to see the store still here in five or ten years, I want to be able to bring my future kids in and rent a movie on the weekend and have a movie night,” Bartels said.
“I love that experience and I want to be able to give that experience to my kids and I'm hoping that someone can help me make that happen.”
Doreen Davis, one of Leo's regular customers was at the store Tuesday, looking for film to impress her son, who works in the movie business.
She says she comes to Leo's to chat about movies and get recommendations from Bartels, who she calls an “encyclopedia.”
“You can just walk around and you can peruse and you can check and you can look and see what's available and you can get your memory going,” Davis said,.
“Look at the work and look at the organization and look what it takes to keep it together and also be personable at the same time. My hats off to him, he deserves a standing ovation I think.”
Anyone interested in purchasing the business can reach Bartels at 250-861-8437 or email@example.com.