Last big VHS supplier abandons the business
Pop culture is finally hitting the eject button on the VHS tape, the once-ubiquitous home-video format that will finish this month as a creaky ghost of Christmas past.
After three decades of steady if unspectacular service, the spinning wheels of the home-entertainment stalwart are slowing to a halt at retail outlets. On a crisp Friday morning in October, the final truckload of VHS tapes rolled out of a Palm Harbor, Fla., warehouse run by Ryan J. Kugler, the last major supplier of the tapes (pictured at left with Brad Kugler).
"It's dead, this is it, this is the last Christmas, without a doubt," said Kugler, 34, a Burbank businessman. "I was the last one buying VHS and the last one selling it, and I'm done. Anything left in warehouse we'll just give away or throw away."
Dumped in a humid Florida landfill? It's an ignominious end for the innovative product that redefined film-watching in America and spawned an entire sector led by new household names such as Blockbuster and West Coast Video. Those chains gave up on VHS a few years ago but not Kugler, who casually describes himself as "a bottom feeder" with a specialization in "distressed inventory."
-- Geoff Boucher
Photo: From left, Ryan and Brad Kugler of Distribution Video Audio. Credit: DVA