Vulcan Video, the esoteric video store that served as a staple of Austin film culture for several generations of movie nerds, has closed permanently. The store’s owner, Diane Donnell, shared the news in an email sent to employees Tuesday night, citing business lost due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic and related shutdowns across the city have "closed the store, and we have no way of knowing when it will be safe to open again, for both employees and customers," Donnell wrote in the email. "Despite the community support and the enduring value of our film collection, the business, as it is, does not generate the income to support itself. It’s the perfect storm to call it a day."
» Related: Austin’s Vulcan Video ‘struggling,’ asks for donations as rent rises
After initially offering curbside service, Vulcan announced last month that it would temporarily close its doors.
Founded in 1985 by Donnell and named after the Vulcan Gas Company, Vulcan lasted far longer than the majority of its video store peers. I Luv Video, another large indie rental store on Airport Boulevard, remained open for business as of late last month.
At its peak, across several Austin locations, Vulcan was known for an extensive selection of movies across every possible genre, from arthouse to grindhouse, and a staff who loved talking about movies and film culture.
(I was a multiple-times-a-week Vulcan customer to the longtime Elizabeth Street location when I lived in South Austin.)
» Related: Coronavirus in Austin: Indie bookstores do their best to reach readers
The past few years have been tough on Vulcan. The Elizabeth Street location closed in 2015; the North Loop shop closed due to rent increases in late 2017. The Vulcan brand found a home at Southwood Shopping Center (4411 Russell Drive) in 2016. A GoFundMe was launched in May 2019 to help shore up its financial health, but that did not do the trick. Add that to the recent downturn in rentals due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s the end of an era for Vulcan Video.
Boy howdy, will it be missed.