Odd Obsession Movies, One Of Chicago’s Last Video Stores, Closes Shop Amid Coronavirus Shutdown, Other Challenges

Chicago News

CHICAGO (CBS) — Odd Obsession Movies, one of Chicago’s last video stores, announced Tuesday that it is closing its shop in Bucktown amid the coronavirus shutdown and in the wake of other challenges.

Odd Obsession, at 1830 N. Milwaukee Ave., specializes in rare and cult films and had a longstanding and strong loyalty among Chicago film buffs.

But with the effects of the stay-at-home order amid the coronavirus pandemic, and other financial problems the video store had faced going back well before that, Odd Obsession announced on its Facebook page that it has decided to shutter its store.

Odd Obsession had also launched a fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo in the fall that ended up falling short. The campaign had sought $25,000 and ended up with only $11,473.

“As you can imagine, nothing about this ordeal has made anything easier for OOM, considering that after our campaign fell short of its goal we had an investor commitment which quickly ended up on shaky legs from divided visions, and regrettably divisive actions at the shop. We had hoped something could be figured out, but surely the above, coupled with the shutdown, has delivered a quite conclusive verdict for the time being,” the store said on Facebook.

Thus, Odd Obsession said, “We are unspeakably sad to announce that there’s no choice but to shutter the shop at this juncture, as ownership and management cannot continue to cover the shop’s losses, nor ask for patrons to bear more weight of supporting Odd Obs in a volunteer-staffed iteration which has proven to not be sustainable for the bulk of the store’s 16+ year existence.”

Odd Obsession was found in 2004, and was initially located in the basement of a graystone building at 1659 N. Halsted St. across from the Steppenwolf Theatre. In its early days at the Halsted Street location, Odd Obsession hosted screening events and readings on weekends.

The store moved to Bucktown a couple of years later, first to 1822 N. Milwaukee Ave., then to a larger space up the block at 1830 N. Milwaukee Ave. It has been a favorite among film buffs all the while.

As the store put it on its IndieGoGo page: “It’s obvious that streaming services just don’t have what Odd Obsession Movies does – a drastically larger collection of movies, television and more, which isn’t stuffed with unwatchable junk. Odd Obsession is that special sort of a place where the entire staff volunteers their time to keep it alive, which is exactly why you’re reading this now.”

In the Facebook post Tuesday, Odd Obsession expressed some hope that its collection could have a future.

“There is hope with the caveat of having generous storage options, that the collection can go into hibernation while our world gradually settles into its new normal, and possibly have a not-too-distant-future-life in partnership with more profitable entities,” the post said.

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