NEW BRIGHTON, Minn. (KMSP) - In the early 2000s, movie renting as we knew it was over. Video stores gave way to online streaming, and the rest was history.
But, someone forgot to tell the guys at Family Video in New Brighton, Minnesota.
“Tuesday is my movie day," said customer George White.
Every week, White drives about 20 minutes one way to the Family Video store.
“I pack up, and I get here before 11 because it's the big rush in here to get the new ones that are coming out.”
You read that correctly. A rush. At a store where people are renting movies. It's something Carissa Orr has had to get used to explaining.
“Every time. 'Those still exist?' I'm like 'yes, Family Video.' Even people that walk in here they're like 'this place exists?' I'm like, you're in it.. so.”
Carissa has been working for Family Video for about six years. She runs a tightly alphabetized ship. “Usually, like, 95 percent of the time if they give me a title I can tell them if they have it, or if they don't have it.”
More importantly, she knows the store’s regular cast of characters. She rattles them off, "Kent, Dennis, Dan, Kenneth, George, Robert, Bill, Jim. You can't not get to know somebody when they come in here almost every day. I see them more than I see my friends, so they are my friends.”
It's filled with short but sweet moments of human interaction that most of us had all but written off.
"It's very delightful. She's very quick at the counter so it's just in and out, real quick. And she remembers a lot of us old timers that come here," George said.
"Yes, you can talk to a human being especially her. She's awesome," customer Chris Oldenburg added.
"Ken comes in and he gets two movies every time. Robert likes the horror movies, for sure. Cathy calls, and we'll be on the phone for a half hour," Carissa said.
And then there's Jesse.
“Whenever I try to tell him how much it is or when it's due, he yells at me.”
Jesse has been coming in every single day for as long as either of them can remember. Jesse repeats back the store policy, “New release due tomorrow by 11. That one I got, due Sunday by 11.”
Carissa and Jesse talk about everything from Jesse's Special Olympic medals to Carissa's favorite comedy releases.
“I like to sit and watch movies, and I like to see Carissa - companionship, you know.”
"Yeah, I love my regulars; that's why I love this job so much, the people," Carissa added.
It's a charming storyline that rivals any other in stock: a modern day video rental store with a nod to the past. And you never know, it could be coming to a neighborhood near you.