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Le Video thrown a lifeline from Green Apple Books

Just when it looked like anyone hoping to rent out-of-print 1957 Mexican American horror-film The Black Scorpion would be out of luck, iconic San Francisco movie rental store Le Video announced a new co-tenant Tuesday.

The deal is aimed at helping the financially-struggling video store — and its nearly 100,000 movie titles — to stay in business, and it’s another local small business that’s coming to the rescue.

Independent bookstore Green Apple Books announced they will be partially taking over the 9th Avenue location that Le Video has called home for 34 years.

For Le Video, the addition of a new tenant means hope for the fledgling business that announced it would be closing its doors by the end of the month.

Green Apple Books second location will occupy the 1,500 square foot lower level of the building, making the new location about one-third the size of their Richmond District location.

Le Video will also be downsizing to the upstairs mezzanine upstairs, but will still be able to display about 25,000 titles, way more than the average video store, according to owner and founder Catherine Tchen.

Le Video will still make it’s entire collection available, which features numerous out of print and rare titles, via an online database that can be accessed from home or through an in-store kiosk.

Though both businesses will be sharing the building, Green Apple Books and Le Video are not forming a partnership and both will remain completely independent.

The bookstore sees this as an opportunity to expand, as business for independent bookstores in the Bay Area steadily increases.

SF Gate reports that, according to the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, hardcover book sales at San Francisco’s independent book stores increased by eight percent in 2013, after an identical increase the year before.

This contrasts with plummeting sales in the independent movie rental business, with at home digital streaming services such as Netflix cornering the market on home video rentals. One only needs to look at the all abandoned buildings that used to house Blockbusters across the country.

Due to changes in space and browsing capacity, Tchen — who told SF Gate she hasn’t taken a salary in 14 years — envisions the new store to act as a community center for film enthusiasts.

She plans to hold events, such as film discussions and screenings, and plans to set out tables and chairs for those wishing to sit and discuss film. Tchen told SF Weekly:

“The space will be more intimate with the goal of being a more social space where people can meet and chat.”

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