Paso Robles location is not closing, Taft says

ATASCADERO — There is an end to everything, to good things as well, as so it is with video stores. The staunch John’s Video Palace bids Atascadero a fond farewell as the curtain closes after 30 years of serving the community.

Early this year, the Palace stood for years at the Smart and Final shopping center, but owner John Taft grew tired of the landlord consistently raising the store’s rent and decided to close shop. Taft, who said he has not raised the price of video rentals in 15 years, felt the consistent raising of rent from an outside party was unjustified. He pointed out that another rental on the property owned by the same people has stood vacant for an extended length of time.

Hope sprung anew for the iconic rental store when Jodi Bloom, the owner of the florist shop Bloom N Grow, reached out to Taft after learning about the Palace’s plight on Facebook and gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse. 

Bloom said the adjacent spot has stood vacant since September of 2018, but not for lack of interest. She passed on a lucrative deal to rent out her entire property to a “smoke shop,” a business that specializes in tobacco products and smoking equipment. With the plaza being filled with mom-and-pop shops, she felt that the store would not be a good fit. Instead, Bloom decided to take months in lost revenue and hold out for a more suitable business to take up residence.

Unfortunately, despite the last-minute rescue, the Palace could not survive the move. Taft said that the new location did not fare as well as he had hoped. He explained that he lost a lot of clients who did not want to travel the extra mile to his new location. 

“It’s sad,” Taft said. “It took me a month to decide to do it. I thought I could make it, but I’m just not making it.”

The store is selling its vast array of DVDs and Blu-rays with new releases priced at $7.99 and the rest at $5. John plans to continue to operate until the end of the year. 

“The whole store is for sale,” said Taft, “I’ve got 700 classics, I’ve got so many good movies here.”

All is not lost however, John’s Paso Robles Video Palace will continue to fight the good fight in the video rental wars. 

“Paso is staying in business, it’s still going. My lease is up next summer, so we’ll see how things go,” said Taft. “Once we close here, half of our customers are in Templeton, so maybe they will go there.”

Getting through this together, Atascadero