A Barber Turned His Basement Into a Video Store During the Pandemic

Frustrated and bored during the pandemic, a Midwestern dad brings his nostalgia for weekend movie rentals to life. Just don’t forget to rewind.

Film buff Brian Hogan, from Des Moines, Iowa, says he built a video store in his basement to "keep my sanity."

A father from Iowa needed to keep busy over quarantine. Before the pandemic, Brian Hogan owned a barbershop in Des Moines, but when businesses started closing, including his own and his favorite local video store, he realized he had to step in.

That's when he decided to pursue a project to "keep his sanity," Hogan told the New York Times.

Hogan took his collection of 5,000 DVDs, 1,500 VHS tapes and 400 LaserDiscs and decided to make a video rental store in his basement. His eldest daughter had moved out of his home so the basement was fair game.

In March of 2020 his wife posted a TikTok video to an account she called "@thevideobunker" of his finished set-up. The video went viral garnering 5 million views.

The couple went on to be featured in an episode of "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

Hogan, who is a former construction worker, says he was inspired to build a replica of a pre-2000s Blockbuster store.

He says he has 300 copies of Forrest Gump.

"It was mainly because all of the stores were closing and I wasn't going to visit them anymore. And my daughter moved away for college. And I'm also just an insane person," Hogan said on the show.

He says that streaming services just aren't the same experience.

"It's tangible. I don't think flipping through thumbnails on streaming services has the same appeal."

There is even an "adult section," but he says customers need to be of age to rent those films.

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