Janice Weaver sits behind the counter of Jimâ€™s Video, surrounded by rentals.
Janice Weaver spends her days surrounded by movie stars and storytellers. As the owner and operator of Jimâ€™s Video in Kettle Falls, the communityâ€™s last independent video store, itâ€™s not a serious stretch to imagine Weaver as a modern-day keeper of tales in a time when supposed technological convenience freÂ¬quently chips away at human interaction by cutting out â€śthe middle man.â€ť
Though Weaverâ€™s self-perception isnâ€™t nearly as lofty, she enjoys what she does---after all, sheâ€™s been doing it for almost 30 years.
â€śIt just kind of turned into my life,â€ť Weaver says of the video store, named after her late husband, Jim, who passed away almost three years ago.
A point to prove
â€śIt was a point to prove. I came right out of high school and started working; I didnâ€™t go on to get a higher educaÂ¬tion. I had to prove to myself I could do this.â€ť
And done it she has, since Jim and his son, Howard, bought the building from â€śClemâ€ť Clemons back in 1984. Until that point, it had been the Keller Hotel.
At the time the Video Home System (VHS) analog videotapes were becoming more and more popular after preÂ¬miering in the 1970â€™s and beating out its competitor, Betamax.
Weaver, who graduated from Kettle Falls High School in 1966, was working for Ronnie Rausch, who owned the 7-Up distributing company in the area as the bookkeeper when her husband and stepson created Jimâ€™s Video.
â€śIt started out that he (Jim) and Howard were supposed to manage it, but that lasted all of two minutes,â€ť Weaver says good-naturedly.
It wasnâ€™t long before Weaver was manning the store full-time. Sight and Sound of Deer Park was the storeâ€™s original video rental distributor, followed by Comtron, then Ingram Entertainment, Inc. where Weaver acquires her rentals to this day, and a wide variety at that.
Customers can rent popular titles from numerous genres, from the Academy Award winning Steven Spielberg film Lincoln, to the action-packed Iron Man series, to classics like Breakfast at Tiffanyâ€™s. Multiple seasons of popular television shows like HomeÂ¬land, True Blood and more are also available, along with game rentals for Xbox 360 and Play Station3.
So how has Jimâ€™s Video remained viable and relevant in an entertainment industry that is in constant flux with yet more advances in technology, especially online and mailing services like Netflix and do-it-yourself selections from Red Box?
*Read the full story in this week's Statesman Examiner and see what Weaver's "movie picks" are!