Jason Jordan's store hours aren't as regular as they used to be. They haven't been for a while. But that doesn't mean he's not working when the sign on the door reads "CLOSED."
At about twelve fifteen on a dreary, cold, and drizzly February day, Jordan walks unhurriedly, leather bag hanging from his right hand, toward Avid Video, the small Durham business he built two decades ago at an even more challenging location than the small Perry Street space it's occupied since 2009. He was supposed to open at noon.
But these days, it's not like many people will notice if he's late. The video-rental businesses isn't what it used to be. Plus, he'd already announced back in October that he'd be gone by now.
"I think a lot of people think I closed down in December," he says. "That was the original plan. And then I ended up getting my kids for a week at Christmas break, so I just closed the store during that time. The store sales were going so well that I decided to stretch it out a couple more months. I think it might have been a mistake."
He won't be there much longer. He'll close for his kids' spring break during the last week of March and then come back the first week of April for what he calls a "blowout sale." Around April 8, his long-beloved video store will close its doors for good.
With his long black hair, neck-length beard, and thrift shop sweaters, Jordan looks like a guy who's gotten used to lonely days at the store. But he remains gregarious and friendly, laughs easily, and still gets hyper when discussing films.
He says he's late today because he spent the morning at home, transferring a longtime customer's home movies to DVD.
"Yeah, that's another service I provide," he says. "Since I've been open, actually. Early on, I took my Yellow Pages listing and, rather than put anything under 'video rental,' I would put it under 'video-transfer service.' I figured most people that were looking in the Yellow Pages were going to drive a certain distance for a movie rental, as opposed to the video-transfer service, where they might be willing to drive across town to get the service."
That kind of scrappiness has kept Jordan going since he and his now ex-wife, Paige Jordan, opened with all VHS rentals at North Durham's Willowdaile Shopping Center in 1996.
That, and stubbornness.
Jordan can rightfully claim that Avid was the Triangle's last nonadult video store to stay open, despite the deadly competition from Netflix, Amazon, Redbox, and other corporate dream killers.
"I take a little pride in that, I guess," he says. He looks down and pauses. "I refused to close it down when it would have been fiscally responsible for me to do so. You know, I should have done this years back."