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Civic Theatre announces the REOpening of Reo’s Video

By Contributor
March 9th, 2021

After many months of anticipation, Reo’s Video will reopen in its new location at 225 Hall Street, Nelson.

It has been a concerted process of planning and searching for the right space since Nelson Civic Theatre Society (The Civic Theatre) purchased Reo’s Video in December 2020, but the search is now over.

Opening day will be St. Patrick’s Day, Wednesday, March 17, 2021, marking exactly one year since Reo’s closure in its previous storefront.

“Reo’s Video and The Civic Theatre have both always endeavoured to accomplish the same thing: share a diverse array of film content and our love for cinema with the people of our community,” said Eleanor Stacey, Executive Director, The Civic Theatre.

“Bringing our two entities together has been such an easy and natural process because we belong together. At a time when video stores have become few and far between, the legacy of Nelson’s beloved Reo’s Video is here to stay, with many exciting opportunities before us to continue to cultivate a love for cinema in Nelson and area.”

COVID-19 has forced many businesses to pivot and diversify, but in this case the result was a match made in heaven.

With this new acquisition by The Civic Theatre, the Reo’s library of films will remain one of Nelson’s most unique resources while maintaining its nostalgic video store charm.

Reo’s Video will contribute substantially to The Civic Theatre’s capacity as a resource for film and media arts in the Kootenays.  The video rental system used to make films available to the public will also receive upgrades, offering greater digital accessibility for customers.

“I’m not sure how I didn’t think of this collaboration earlier, it feels like a total no-brainer,” said Cole Johnston, former Reo’s Video owner, now Reo’s Managing Curator, The Civic Theatre.

“Reo’s Video and The Civic Theatre are two of Nelson’s longest running film institutions, so it only makes sense that we should join forces.

“It took a few months to iron out all the details and develop a reopening plan, but I’m glad we took the time to do it right. We have the perfect space worth waiting for, and I can’t wait to show all of our loyal and patient customers the new Reo’s.”

Reo’s Video has been a community fixture since 1987, with many locals having grown up renting movies and trying their luck on those infamous black gum balls since childhood.

The support for Reo’s remains very strong, even after its unexpected year-long “intermission”. As such, it has been incredibly important to keep the collection of almost 18,000 DVDs and blu rays in the community, no matter what.

Civic Theatre

The Civic Theatre (Nelson Civic Theatre Society) is a cultural media arts centre dedicated to the presentation of film and a wide variety of cultural and educational experiences to the community we serve. As a registered Canadian charity, its mandate is to provide a public amenity by operating and maintaining our theatre as a multi-use facility for film screenings and for other artistic, educational and community-building programs and events for the benefit of the general public; be a home and presenter of lectures, workshops, courses and seminars on topics related to film or utilizing digital media for a diverse range of audiences; and protect, preserve and improve Nelson’s historic Civic Theatre. Beyond regular year-round screenings and summer drive in theatre, The Civic Theatre’s programs include and the Kootenay Screen-Based Industry Initiative, the Rural Arts Inclusion Lab, Youth and Intergenerational Program and Events, and a Resident Artists program.

Reo’s Video

Reo’s Video was founded by namesake Reo Rocheleau in 1987, when he began renting VHS tapes out of his neighbourhood corner store. Reo’s Video grew and changed location three times over its more than 30 years of operation before its 2020 acquisition by The Civic Theatre. With almost 18,000 titles (four times the number of selections on Netflix), including a majority not available on any streaming platform, Reo’s is the largest movie library east of Vancouver. A fixture in Nelson, Reo’s has become a cornerstone entity of the city’s arts and culture scene. Thousands of people have experienced cinema from around the world through the vast, rare, and historical collection found at Reo’s.

Photo Caption: Cole Johnston, former Reo’s Video owner and now Reo’s Managing Curator, The Civic Theatre, can’t wait to show all of our loyal and patient customers the new Reo’s. — Submitted photo

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