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Santa Maria Sun / Biz Spotlight

The following article was posted on October 15th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 32 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 32

Spotlight on: Evergreen Video

Carol Boston, owner


Evergreen Video Owner Carol Boston keeps Ozzie the bird with her at the shop.

The world has changed. Older readers—and I’m talking older than 18 or 20—may laugh at young people walking into a movie-rental store and asking “What is this place?” But that’s a good question for a generation raised in the cloud, more used to swiping at screens and instantly summoning just about anything they desire with the tap of a virtual button.

“This place” is Evergreen Video, a movie-rental shop Carol Boston has managed to keep open—and thriving—while those around her fell. Yes, this is a real-world space with actual shelves holding physical copies of films, on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Boston said that the shop gets multiple new-release titles a month in advance of a certain-colored box on the streets (she named it, but why should we give her “competition” space in a column about Evergreen?), but older movies are still quite a draw. Nostalgic customers come in looking for classics or childhood favorites they can’t stream via online services. Think The Goonies or The Breakfast Club. There’s a sea of classic classics, too, the old black-and-white kind.

On the opposite end of the era spectrum sit the modern blockbusters, the 3-D films, and the TV series on DVD. Customers can find Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, and the popular American Horror Story.

The accessibility is augmented by the sort of customer service you can only get in a community establishment. Boston and her crew will, for instance, make sure you have all the necessary equipment to watch one of those newfangled and fancy 3-D films at home.

Nicole Cullum, an employee who’s worked at Evergreen for several years, offers familiar greetings to regulars and casual and friendly hellos to newcomers, bantering with everyone between ringing up rentals and answering the phone. She’ll come out from behind the counter to grab a title or two to hold for a caller looking to make sure the latest releases are still available after work.

“People who work for me really like movies,” Boston said, adding that one employee now in his 30s started working for her when he was 18.

Boston opened Evergreen in 1989 “to have something to do.” She used to be a police officer in L.A., but moved here with her husband in the late ’80s and started brainstorming what could be done to a building in the old Evergreen center. People looking to own movies at the time had to shell out up to $65 per title, so rentals were definitely in. Boston jumped on the idea.

“We went into it knowing nothing about video rentals,” she admitted.

She’s managed to parlay that ignorance into success, probably due to staying on top of the trends and changes, to hiring quality people (“We bend over backwards. That’s been our mantra since Day One: customer service.”), and to her commitment to the community. She has opportunities for schools, senior care facilities, and the like to borrow movies for free.

And then there’s Ozzie, a beautiful green bird who’s become the mascot of the store.

Boston arranges the movies by actor, so all of, say, Denzel Washington’s titles are grouped together. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can ask at the front counter—and whomever’s working will be able to tell you whether it’s in or out, and whether they own it at all.

Trust me: They know.

National Independent Video Store Day is Oct. 19. As of the deadline for this article, Boston hadn’t yet pinned down how exactly she’d be celebrating, but she was planning to recognize the day somehow in the shop.

Evergreen Video is at 3534 Orcutt Road in Santa Maria.

For more information, call 934-5185.


Executive Editor Ryan Miller wrote this week’s Spotlight. Send comments and items for consideration to rmiller@santamariasun.com.