VisArt Video, one of Charlotte’s last remaining independent video stores, will open its new location in the Eastway Crossings Shopping Center at the end of next week, a bit sooner than originally planned.
The movie rental shop’s new location at 3104 Eastway Drive is just over 3 miles away from its current spot at 1945 E. Seventh St. in Elizabeth, where it’s operated for about 30 years. The store had originally said the move would take place Sept. 1.
“VisArt is surviving against pretty long odds,” co-owner Mickey Aberman told the Observer. “We keep it going because we think we need it.”
Aberman says the vintage store carries a slew of classic movies that can’t be found on Netflix – including “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and any Hitchcock movie other than “The Lady Vanishes” – but still gets all the new releases.
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“As best we can tell, VisArt is the only source for people in Charlotte to see these films, along with a bunch of other movies you might think of as pieces of cultural literacy,” Aberman said.
VisArt’s new location will still carry about 30,000 movie titles along with merchandise including posters, action figures, lunch boxes, T-shirts and clothing. The new space will also have a small screening area for film groups, Aberman added.
The store’s lease is expiring, and Gina Cerniglia, the shop’s other owner, told the Observer in May that VisArt’s move is prompted by the management team’s uncertainty about the neighborhood.
Many smaller businesses in Elizabeth – along with other older, close-in neighborhoods like Plaza Midwood and NoDa – are being pushed out of their current spots as apartment construction booms. Across the street from VisArt, for example, the Jackalope Jacks site has been rezoned and will be developed into a 200-unit apartment complex.
Aberman, a local attorney, purchased VisArt in 2011, a year after five other VisArts had closed in North Carolina.