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    Bit to Do

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    At this point I know there are very few of you who haven’t heard that Wild and Woolly Video will be closing its doors forever in March. I was privileged to interview with the owner, Todd Brashear, only a few weeks ago, and from the tone of the conversation all was well. Needless to say when the news broke about the closing, it took me by surprise.


    After the announcement of the closing, Brashear explained to me that at the time of our previous interview the decision had not been firm and an announcement had not been made to his employees. Tears filled my eyes and all I could utter was a cliché “Say it isn’t so!” Although the news was heartbreaking, I am still grateful I was able to interview him when I did. Thanks to this opportunity I was able to find an answer to some of those questions I know my fellow die-hard Wild and Woolly fans have always wanted to know.


    LC: Why Wild and Woolly?
    TB: “I picked it to try to give people an idea of what we were all about. When I ran it by people they usually laughed, so I thought that was a good thing, as people would remember it more than ‘Todd's Video’ or something like that.”


    LC: What is the strangest or most obscure category in the store?
    TB: “Psychotronic   -it's named after the old Psychotronic magazine and video guide, but it's basically just strange films or films that can't easily be categorized.”


    LC: How did the gorilla become your spokesperson and more importantly, is that you in the suit?
    TC: “I always had a fondness for cheesy gorilla suit stuff. But at one point we needed a new logo and Tucker Johnston (http://tuckerjohnston.com/) came up with it. Our original logo was a guy peeking through a keyhole, and while I meant it to be slightly naughty, people took it to mean that we were just an adult video store.”


     
    In his letter to his customers, released on January 12th, Brashear explained that his decision to close was a combination of changes in the video industry and a shift in the career he wanted to pursue. Brashear intends to become a certified Pilates teacher in the years to come. I am impressed by his ability to make this tough decision and to do what is right for his family, but I cannot say that the selfish part of me didn’t want him to stick it out.
     
    I asked Todd if he had any regrets and he said he had no major ones. He told me his favorite part of owning the store was "getting to spend time with the employees and customers."and how they “…get all types of people here, not just one demographic.” And when asked if there was anything he wanted me to be sure I included in this article he simply exclaimed an appreciated: “Thanks Louisville!”


    I know we all have our own fuzzy memories of Wild and Wooly Video, whether it was the first time you found that obscure movie that became your new favorite, or the time you took your lover there to rent movies for date night, the establishment has become a part of all of us. For me, my love affair with the video store started as a 10-year-old girl, holding my dad’s hand and thumbing through Sci Fi greats like The Day the Earth Stood Still (Wise, 1951) and Forbidden Planet (Wilcox, 1956). It continued into my adult life and even into my love life as my husband and I would rent our date night movies there.
     
    I made another visit to the store this past Friday to make a few purchases before certain titles were bought up and I looked around, heart sinking, at the last bit of nostalgia from my childhood stood around me with an expiration date. I wondered to myself if Todd knew how much this place meant to this community. Within an hour of browsing the collection my question was answered.
     


    In the short time that I was there I had three unprovoked conversations with customers, clad with sad faces, about how upset they were to see the store go. Each person offered me their own tales of their first time at Wild and Woolly, their favorite parts about it, and their well wishes to Todd in his future endeavors. One person had been going there since they opened and shared his first impressions of the store and Todd, all good of course. Another person shared their love of how obscure some of the films were.
     
    Another woman, I overheard, expressed her sadness that she had just discovered the store and all of its greatness, but was understanding of the need to close and explore new horizons. In the end, however, the most heart-warming of everything I heard and saw were the wonderful comments and nostalgic smiles of the employees and the loving memories they shared.
     
    So while I stood in the store looking around at the end of an era, and the visions of almost two decades of memories, I realized my feelings were bittersweet. While I am sad Louisville is losing another icon, I am excited to know it is gaining one sure-to-be kick ass Pilates instructor! Good luck to you, Todd Brashear.

    Visit Wild and Woolly's Facebook Page here to get details about their final few days in business! 

    Photographs courtesy of Wild and Woolly's Facebook Page, Illustration courtesy of Sara Lewis. 

     

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    About Sara Lewis

    Sara is a local illustrator, designer and all around awesome person! She is a lover of nerdom (including but not limited to: Star Trek AND Wars, comic books, sci fi movies, namely FORBIDDEN PLANET!) Aside from that she loves obscure and horror films, anything out of the norm and reading books (especially the works of Gaiman and Prunty) A trouble maker by nature...she is also ever-changing.

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