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Langley teen’s ‘Free Blockbuster’ brings tiny video store to Walnut Grove

Not to mention the microwave popcorn
The Free Blockbuster is stocked with DVDs and VHS tapes, as well as membership cards and microwave popcorn. (Michelle Reed/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

A Langley teenager’s creation of a tiny free video store has been drawing big attention from neighbours and movie lovers ever since he set it up this month.

Grade 12 Walnut Grove Secondary student Matthew Reed was looking for a Capstone Project this year, but was having trouble coming up with something.

His teachers suggested he work on something he’s passionate about, said his mom, Michelle Watson. And her son’s big passions are pro wrestling, movies, and collecting VHS tapes.

He’s been building up a collection of about 300 VHS tapes, with many rescued from thrift stores. He likes all kinds of movies, including Disney animated features, but was pretty excited to get a copy of Rocky.

“It’s a really good movie,” Reed said.

Reed fondly remembers the video stores that used to dot Langley.

“There used to be a Blockbuster right in my area,” Reed said. But with the rise of streaming, Blockbusters are long gone from Canada, and there are only a tiny handful of video stores left at all. “I miss going to it.”

That passion turned into a project when Reed found an online article about the rise of “Free Blockbusters,” tiny volunteer-created kiosks like the Little Free Library movement.

A Free Blockbuster is a small box by the side of the road, stocked with movies, where people can take one and leave another.

He set up his own Free Blockbuster by Sunday, Jan. 22, and not only included DVDs and VHS tapes he owned, but also “membership cards” and microwave popcorn.

After his sister mentioned the Free Blockbuster on social media, interest rapidly increased.

As of Wednesday, Jan. 25, the family was seeing loads of videos and DVDs being dropped off. Reed said he got “two boxes” on Wednesday, and Watson reported people bringing whole bags of movies and TV shows.

They’re hoping people can mostly stick with taking a movie and leaving a movie, as the family is getting more than they need.

Watson suggested people can start their own Free Blockbusters – as far as Reed could determine, the only ones in Canada before his kiosk were in Alberta.

Reed said he plans to keep his Free Blockbuster going as long as he can.

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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