A Barber’s Viral Pandemic Project: Turning His Basement Into a Video Store


Some retro details, like the wood paneling and faux-brick MDF walls, were already part of the house, a 1950s one-story ranch. Naturally, there’s a “staff picks” shelf — Mr. Hogan, his wife and their two daughters, Bickley, 19, and Stella, 13, each get to pick a title. Current picks include “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Night of the Creeps” (Mr. Hogan is a horror fan who co-hosts a podcast, the Fright Zone, devoted to the genre).

Does Mr. Hogan allow the public to rent his collection?

“It’s more of a time capsule,” meant for family and friends, he said. “Friends who come over get to pick out a movie and we watch it.”

Since becoming a hit on TikTok, Mr. Hogan has received overwhelmingly positive response, including from Dennis Dugan, the director of “Happy Gilmore” and “Big Daddy,” who mailed him a box of DVDs of his films to add to the inventory. This at a time when movie theaters are closed, few video stores are left in the country and we’ve all supposedly joined the streaming revolution.

“I was surprised that it took off the way that it did,” Mr. Hogan said. “I’m not surprised by the response. I spent a good part of my childhood in the video store. That was a Friday night thing. You didn’t just go to the video store. You went to the video store.”

He added, “My kids are old enough to have that rental store experience. They stream a lot, but they watch movies, too.”

Stella has already internalized one of the cardinal video rental rules. “She watched ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ in our viewing room,” the other night, Mr. Hogan said. “Not only was the tape back on the shelf where she got it from, but she ran it through the rewinder.”

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