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TK's MORNING BUZZ: The Theme of This Year's East Coast Video Show is 'Survival'

26 Sep, 2000 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Thomas K. Arnold with Avalanche Home Entertainment's John Nucifora last night at the Tun Tavern pre-show opening party.

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.—The theme of this year’s East Coast Video Show is "survival," and the retailers who began rolling into this rain-soaked seacoast town last night truly epitomize the word.

Ellen Enke, a veteran show-goer who owns Mrs. Hudson’s Video Library in the heart of Greenwich Village, told me her key to staying in business is knowing her clientele inside and out and buying accordingly. She takes particular pride in feeding her eclectic customers British series, and getting them hooked with episode one so that they come in night after night until they’ve seen them all. "The longer the series, the better," Enke told me last night over a beer at the Tun Tavern, the site of the show’s annual pre-opening mingler.

Also at the Tun Tavern was Ray Jewell, the feisty Texan who launched the "Red Hat Brigade" to protect video windows. Jewell grumbled about how weak titles had kept revenues at his five stores well below last year’s levels, but vowed to keep up the fight, passing out caps throughout the pub and, the next morning, at the show’s Opening Business Session.

Mike Becker, owner of New York City’s famed The Video Room, was naturally happy that urbanfetch.com. got out of the video delivery business, his more or less exclusive domain for more than a decade. And yet Becker isn’t relying solely on video, either; he also runs a mobile pet-grooming business.

The survival theme hit its peak this morning at the Opening Business Session. VSDA chairman Tom Warren—wearing a red hat, of course—got things rolling by telling the audience, "I know you are survivors, just like I’m a survivor, and we’re going to be in this business for a long time."

The icing on the cake, though, went to Becker, who followed Warren to the podium and led the crowd in a rousing, if not entirely on key, rendition of Gloria Gaynor’s "I Will Survive," with slightly modified lyrics about not crumbling "to that big store in the sky." "Oh, no, I will survive, as long as there is DVD I know I’ll be alive," Becker and the crowd sang.

And you can tell they meant it.

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