Wild and Woolly Owner Todd Brashear Says He Never Thought the Store Would Last 18 Years
Louisville’s Wild and Woolly video is closing after 18 years of business, owner Todd Brashear announced Monday.
We spoke with Brashear about his decision to close.
You’ve been in business for almost 18 years—the day you close will be the anniversary. I imagine there’s mixed feelings about your decision, but you do say in some ways it was an easy one. Can you explain why?
“It’s just been going down for several years for what I consider are probably obvious reasons—like between Netflix and Hulu and iTunes and torrenting, and I’m sure there are even more things to add to the list. Sometimes I have been amazed that we were still in business at all.”
The format of Wild and Woolly Video worked for so long and it’s no surprise that video stores have struggled with business. How was Wild and Woolly able to make it work so long?
“One thing was loyalty. The customers, we’ve got a lot of really great customers. A lot of them have been coming in for a long time. The people that work here are really great so it makes it a fun place to visit. Unfortunately the era of the knowledgeable clerk is probably dwindling quite a bit.
“One thing that I think helped was we were around before Netflix and all that started so we were kind of ingrained into the community.”
What reaction have you been receiving since this announcement?
“Overall it has been overwhelmingly supportive. I think people understand, even though they’re sad about it.”
Where will people find hard to find movies?
“I’ve thought about that and that was probably one of the things that made the decision harder. The library carries a pretty good selection, but they’re pretty specialized. They don’t carry weird obscure horror movies and things like that. They lean more towards the educational aspect of film. There are plenty of other sources out there as far as of streaming and all that.”
You’re selling off your inventory beginning Jan. 26. What gems do you have that can’t be found in box stores or anywhere else?
“Thousands of things. Movies go in and out of print all the time. In some ways more and more things are going out of print as far as obscurities. But for several years we’ve had a deal where we’ll sell anything at anytime out of our inventory. We just look around on the Internet and figure out what the going price is.
“Just this morning there was a guy in here asking about a weird '70s Italian horror movie, and I don’t know if he bought it or not but the going rate for it was like $75.”
Out of the last 18 years what has been the highlight for you?
“Just getting to know all the different customers who a lot of them I would consider friends now. That’s more of a big picture thing. Specifically, when we had Rudy Raymore, a.k.a. Dolemite, he came to the store and did a show at Comedy Caravan. And then for our 13th anniversary celebration we had Rocky Erikson, the singer from Austin, Texas.
When you first opened did you ever imagine you’d be around for 18 years?
“No way. I didn’t think that far ahead, to tell you the truth. I was working a job I didn’t like very much and just wanted to do something different.”