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Remember the good old days when you could go to a video store, pick out a movie and sit down with family and friends and watch it? The days of going to a video store are pretty much gone in this age of streaming content, but many people like Bobby Canipe, Jr. who grew up in the Cat Square area of Vale has fond memories of the time he spent at the Cat Square Superette going through videos and games.

Canipe graduated from West Lincoln High School in 2002 and headed to college to obtain a degree in English with the original intention of writing scripts and stories. 

“I picked up the love of filming along the way,” he said. “I did my first film in 2012 which was shot in Lincolnton. It was a small budget horror film that we put together for a film festival in South Carolina called Monster Con. I ended up winning best regional feature there.”

While flipping through channels on television one day, Canipe found a documentary about Blockbuster. 

“I watched it, but the whole time I realized I didn’t have any of those memories because I didn’t go to Blockbusters while growing up,” he said. “Immediately after I got online and made a post about old video stores, a bunch of my friends replied with similar memories. I realized that if I didn’t encapsulate this scene of independent video stores, they’re going to be forgotten. Nobody’s going to be talking about Cat Square Superette and renting videos there.”

Canipe set up an Indiegogo campaign to raise the funds and thought that if he hit the limit, he’d make the movie and if not, he’d go on. He hit it in two weeks. The film is called “Mom N' Pop: The Indie Video Store Boom of the 80s/90s.” 

“A lot of people remember the Blockbusters as something that influenced them a lot,” he said. “Me, growing up in Vale, we didn’t have a Blockbuster anywhere near us. The closest place was Cat Square, so I’d ride my bike down there and rent a video or a game. I remember they’d put up video posters in the windows and before I could ride my bike there, my dad would take me to rent videos or games. Those little video stores influenced me to get into making movies. Nobody ever talks about them, so I wanted to highlight them.”

Canipe and his crew have been traveling to different areas around the country and talking to independent filmmakers who were influenced by these stores, former owners of those stores about what it was like running a video store and why they had them as part of their stores, gas stations or tanning salons, and of course fans of mom-and-pop video stores.”

“We went to Chicago and talked to a guy named Chris Garcia who loves video stores so much he turned his entire basement into a video store that he remembered when he was a kid,” he said. “Going in there is amazing. Then we flew to Los Angeles and filmed out there for a week. We do think video stores are going to come back in some capacity – maybe not to rent but to sell vintage videotapes.”

It’s anticipated that the film will be done in March 2022. It’ll be released through film festivals and Canipe has been reached out to for some form of distribution so DVDs should be released, and it may be available via a streaming service.

“I love video stores,” he said. “There were super important to a lot of people. On a Friday night growing up, in my generation and probably other generations as well, there was nothing more fun than renting movies and games, getting a pizza, and having friends spend the night. I’m trying to get the most out of those memories.”

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